UFC 291 Prelims & Early Prelims Prediction and Best Bets: Where’s the Best Value?

Devon Platana

Written by: Devon Platana

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UFC 291 Preliminary Card & Early Prelims Prediction and Best Bets: Where’s the Best Early Value? cover


Betting News has covered UFC 291 throughout the week, ranging from the highly-anticipated main event to other noteworthy fights. With that being said, the early action also deserves some love considering that the preliminary and early prelims cards are absolutely stacked, too.


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Betting News has gathered the latest odds for all of the UFC 291 preliminary card and early prelims fights, along with an expert prediction for each matchup.

UFC 291 Preliminary Card Prediction

The UFC 291 odds listed below are as of 11:11 p.m. on Thursday, July 27 via BetOnline.

Welterweight: Gabriel Bonfim (-312) vs. Trevin Giles (+262)

The biggest fight on the UFC 291 preliminary card is the welterweight showdown between the undefeated Gabriel Bonfim (14-0) and Trevin Giles (16-4).

Bonfim hasn’t looked out of place in the UFC, tallying a pair of submission victories in fights against Trey Waters and Mounir Lazzez. Meanwhile, Giles seems to have found his groove after beating Louis Cosce and Preston Parsons following a loss in his welterweight debut.

I don’t see Bonfim suffering his first-ever loss this weekend. Giles hasn’t exactly beaten anyone of note and has been knocked out twice in the last two years alone. Bonfim has finished every single opponent in his path and I won’t be surprised if that trend continues in Salt Lake City.

Best Bet: Gabriel Bonfim Inside the Distance (-190)

Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis (+204) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-239)

Former UFC Heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis (26-11, 1NC) finds himself as the clear underdog after losing three consecutive fights for the first time in his career. At the same time, Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-8-1) has improved to 4-1 in his last five fights following consecutive wins over Andrei Arlovski and Waldo Cortes-Acosta.

Lewis is one of the best heavyweights that the UFC has seen, but his best days have passed him by. He hasn’t lasted longer than 6:40 in his three most recent outings, losing twice by KO/TKO and once by submission.

Lewis will also be in trouble if Lima takes this fight to the mat. The former doesn’t have the best grappling skills, whereas Lima averages 1.35 takedowns per 15 minutes with 47% accuracy.

I expect Lima to wear Lewis down with his grappling and ground game before finishing him off with a submission maneuver.

Best Bet: Marcos Rogerio de Lima by Submission (+500)

Middleweight: Roman Kopylov (-200) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (+170)

After an unfortunate 0-2 start to his tenure, Roman Kopylov (10-2) heads into UFC 291 with consecutive knockout wins in his last two fights. Standing in his way of more success is Claudio Ribeiro (11-3), who has seven knockout wins in his last eight fights.

There’s no doubt that this fight will be an absolute war between two fights who have 20 KO/TKO victories in 26 combined fights. Keeping that in mind, I’m taking Kopylov to win this one. He has a significant edge when it comes to striking defense (60% vs. 38%), which is important in a meeting like this bout.

Ribeiro has also been knocked out at the UFC level before, which had a lot to do with Abdul Razak Alhassan constantly targeting his head. Much to Ribeiro’s dismay, Kopylov has a knack for landing strikes above the shoulders, leading to my prediction that he’ll win by knockout.

Best Bet: Roman Kopylov by KO/TKO (+105)

Welterweight: Jake Matthews (-255) vs. Darrius Flowers (+215)

Despite the odds being on his side, Jake Matthews (18-6) is only 1-2 in his last three fights, most recently losing to Matthew Semelsberger via points last December. His opponent is none other than Darrius Flowers (12-5-1), who’s searching for his fifth consecutive victory.

Flowers’ winning streak is impressive on paper, but the truth is that he hasn’t been anyone notable. Matthews, on the other hand, has much more experience under his belt and lands more significant blows per minute (3.09 vs. 0.82) with better striking defense (61% vs. 31%).

With the size advantage also on his side, I see Matthews wearing Flowers down with some strikes and the occasional takedown before ultimately winning by some form of decision.

Best Bet: Jake Matthews by Points (+300)

UFC 291 Early Prelims Prediction

Flyweight: C.J. Vergara (-149) vs. Vinicius Salvador (+129)

C.J. Vergara (11-4-1) is gunning for consecutive wins for the first time in two years after knocking out Daniel da Silva back in March. He’s in for a matchup with Brazil’s Vinicius Salvador (14-5), who’s coming off a unanimous decision loss to Victor Altamirano four months ago.


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Vergara’s UFC run hasn’t gone as planned, highlighted by a 3-2 record in his first five fights. At the same time, Salvador only has only experienced two fights in the world’s top MMA promotion. In other words, I see this fight going either way.

I’m taking a neutral approach to the bet by saying that the fight won’t go the distance (-170). Vergara and Salvador have 20 knockout victories between them and will likely be looking to end this encounter early. The result should be a relatively quick finish.

Best Bet: Fight to Go the Distance — No (-170)

Welterweight: Matthew Semelsberger (-200) vs. Uros Medic (+170)

Matthew Semelsberger (11-5) looks to avoid his third loss in four fights at UFC 291. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles Uros Medic (8-1) considering how the “Doctor” has only lost once in his relatively young MMA career.

While Medic’s record is impressive on paper, he’s faced weak competition and hasn’t even fought in over 14 months. Semelsberger is a more seasoned veteran who boasts a 4-2 record as the favorite in UFC competition. He also has the four-inch reach advantage and better cardio, meaning I see Semelsberger using his size to keep Medic in check before winning this by going the distance.

Best Bet: Matthew Semelsberger by Points (+375)

Women’s Flyweight: Miranda Maverick (-280) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+240)

Miranda Maverick (11-5) will do her best to break out of her funk this weekend after fighting to a 2-3 record in her last five bouts. Although Priscila Cachoeira (12-4) is the significant underdog, she won four of her previous five outings, which includes three knockout wins during that span.

What’s interesting here is how much Maverick’s odds dropped over the last few weeks. She opened as the -500 favorite, but those odds have plummeted to -280. It likely has a lot to do with bettors and oddsmakers realizing that Cachoeira has been amassing quite the résumé lately.

Maverick is in a vulnerable spot after coming up short against Jasmine Jasudavicius in her latest matchup. With momentum on her side, I see Cachoeira taking advantage of her foe’s slump and pulling off the upset somehow at UFC 291.

Best Bet: Priscila Cachoeira Outright (+240)

UFC 291 Event Details

When is UFC 291?

UFC 291 will take place on Saturday, July 29, 2023.

Where is UFC 291?

UFC 291 will take place at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

What time does UFC 291 start?

  • UFC 291 Early Prelims Card: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • UFC 291 Preliminary Card Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Start Time of UFC 291’s Main Card: 10 p.m. ET

How can I watch UFC 291?

The early prelims action can be viewed through the UFC Fight Pass. Following that, the UFC 291 preliminary card airs on both ABC and ESPN before the main card takes place on ESPN+ and through pay-per-view providers.

How can I bet on UFC 291?

All of the top online sports betting sites will have UFC 291 odds, but here are some of the sites we recommend most for MMA betting enthusiasts.

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Devon Platana
Devon Platana

Devon is a Master of Journalism graduate who joined the sports betting world in 2020. His favorite leagues to cover are the NHL, NBA and NFL, and has a soft spot for fantasy football specifically. Outside of sports, he enjoys the finer things in life like pasta, live music and getting even more tattoos.

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