Justin Gaethje (@1.53) vs Donald Cerrone (@2.5)

Our Prediction:

Justin Gaethje will win

Justin Gaethje – Donald Cerrone Match Prediction | 15-09-2019 01:00

Gaethje, set for Saturday, September 14th in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The main card streams live on ESPN+ at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, with prelims also on ESPN+ at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT. The main event is a five-round lightweight bout between highly entertaining contenders Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone. Check out Bloody Elbows pre-fight, fight night, and post-fight coverage for UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs.

Part of it is just standard outside-the-UFC dominant champ booking (similar to that of Marlon Moraes, who also drew a tough top-5 contender in his UFC debut to take advantage of his developed skillset before he started to decline), but it also just seemed like a function of pure bad luck to face three awful style matchups in a row. Curiously, Justin Gaethjes career seems to be following a somewhat reversed-track for an elite talent; where most great fighters tend to start strong only for their weaknesses to be revealed, Gaethjes limitations were on display just as much as his strengths were in his first three UFC bouts, but the two fights after that showed what he can be against anyone else. With Poirier out of the picture for now and Alvarez no longer a contender, Gaethje has a path to the title shot that seems less obviously grueling than the one that he had to go through the first time, and that path goes through Cerrone.

Donald Cowboy Cerrone was on his way towards another crack at UFC gold before his defeat to Tony Ferguson in June, but the veterans momentum was well and truly halted when a gruesome eye injury put a stop to that contest at UFC 238 under doctors orders. Justin The Highlight Gaethje meanwhile has recaptured some of his momentum after an 18-fight unbeaten start to his mixed martial arts career was ended with back-to-back defeats.

Cerrones game is well-known by now; he wants to keep the fight in the open where he can kick freely, and his strongest moments generally tend to come when hes able to chain his kicks off his unsound but often effective blitzes. Cerrone isnt a particularly deep kicker and definitely isnt a great boxer (with his game being jab sometimes and shift into blitzes other times), but his game is constructed fairly well to hide his weaknesses against most opponents. Cerrones most consistent work tends to be the sort of attrition with which he broke down Al Iaquinta, who he carved up with kicks to the legs and body on the outside that let him take over as the fight went on (although his signature has become the head-kick, which finished fighters as good as Matt Brown and Jim Miller). What got Cerrone his two recent wins at 155 was largely his intercepting knee, a feature he introduced to his game a few years ago as a response to being pressured a lot; Alexander Hernandez apparently tried to put Cerrone under pressure by just blitzing linearly over and over only to run into a knee nearly every time, and Iaquintas preference for using the takedown threat as a way to enter the pocket was shortchanged by the same tool.

Latest Cerrone vs. Gaethje Odds

Where Darren Till and Rafael dos Anjos just pushed him back and smashed him, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal solved his approach with relative ease (Masvidal with his careful distance-closing and jab, Edwards with his southpaw kicking and counterpunching game). That said, those weaknesses still exist, and he tends to lose catastrophically when his singular tool to manage the distance is successfully navigated. Cerrone is also one of the more defined momentum-fighters in MMA, for better or worse; his attack snowballs heavily and his opponents tend not to mount comebacks if it piles up, but his losses tend to be extremely lopsided beatings before Cerrone finds opportunities to do anything of effect (and a bad first round often portends a bad fight for him). Cerrone has a number of traits that define a problematic matchup, from southpaws to good body-hitters (where Cerrones body is historically quite fragile) to sound pressure-boxers, and he hasnt really shown an answer to any of those yet. Whether Justin Gaethje can exploit those tendencies is yet to be seen.

A win over Gaethje would be one of the most impressive of his career. After a short but memorable campaign to the upper-end of the lightweight rankings, Donald Cerrone finds himself in a familiar position; having lost to an elite fighter at UFC 238, the legendary workhorse looks to bounce back by making a fairly quick turnaround to fight for the fourth time in 2019. Cowboy is getting older and his fights at this point are whether his opponents can find a way to exploit the well-defined weaknesses right below the surface, but Cerrones win over Al Iaquinta showed that hes (at least) still quite good and a challenge for most opponents who arent built in way that rips open his weaknesses.

Even if he was at full heath, this would be an extremely tough night for Cerrone. His three-fight win streak following the birth of his son last year suggested he was getting better with age, but Ferguson showed Gaethje exactly how to beat him. Cowboy is a warrior who never gives up, but Gaethje is the favourite with the best betting sites and has the tools to get himself back into title contention here. The Highlight isnt as technically strong as Ferguson, but his forward pressure and punching power is going to give Cerrone a tough time in the Octagon.

This will be Cerrones fifth career fight in Canada. Cerrone is a versatile fighter who is a well decorated kick boxer, has a deep background in Muay Thai and is comfortable on the canvas to the point he has 17 career submission victories. A total of 27 of Cerrones 36 victories have come by some sort of stoppage. Cerrone obviously isnt wasting any time stepping back in the octagon, as this will be his fourth fight of the year and hes earned performance bonuses in each of his last four fights. Donald Cerrone enters this fight with a 36-12 record and has won 47 percent of his fights by submission. A polished wrestler who almost always has the edge on the canvas, Cerrone closes range well with those leg kicks and usually gets the fight where he wants it. Cerrone has split his last 10 fights and is coming off a June loss to Tony Ferguson. Cerrone is averaging 1.29 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 35 percent. Cerrone is coming off a second round knockout loss that was forced to be stopped after he blew his nose and his eye swelled shut. Cerrone ate 104 significant strikes in the bout and was running out of answers well before the fight was stopped. A tough fighter who clearly isnt backing down from the competition, Cerrones work rate and willingness to take on whomever is why hes popular with fans. Cerrone is averaging 4.2 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent.

We just havent seen much of it yet in the UFC. The 30-year-old Arizona native displayed his fearsome punching power in those two bouts, as well as his strong fight IQ and tactics. Gaethje has bounced back from those losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier with two KO victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza. Gaethje is an aggressive fighter who walks down his opponents, but he also has an excellent ground game thanks to his college wresting background. A successful night in British Columbia would continue his recovery and leave the Highlight on the cusp of a title shot.