UFC Fight Night: 158 | Squared Up: Cerrone vs Gaethje Predictions & Analysis

Jason Paglia

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 6:55 AM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2019 6:55 AM UTC

Donald Cerrone squares up against Justin Gaethje in a main event that is sure to entertain.

<div><p>OH CANADA! The UFC has been away from the States for the last few weeks, but they have made their way back to North America. UFC Fight Night 158 takes place this Saturday in Vancouver, Canada under the light of the Rogers Arena. This week features a pair of top 5 lightweights when Donald Cerrone squares up against Justin Gaethje in a main event that is sure to entertain.</p><h2><strong>DONALD CERRONE (36-12) vs JUSTIN GAETHJE (20-2)</strong></h2><div style="text-align:center"><strong><img alt src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/gqVQw.nolSliShGPMo.c5g--~A/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAw/http:/media.zenfs.com/en/homerun/feed_manager_auto_publish_494/8fc50b86a564ec6026e6063853540bf8" style="width:700px;height:466px" /></strong></div><p style="text-align:center"><b>Donald Cerrone</b></p><p>Unless you are a real MMA fan, it’s hard to put into words how many people love Cowboy Cerrone. He might have more MMA fans then every other fighter on the roster, and deservedly so. He will literally fight anyone, any weight class, any time. Cowboy holds the record for most UFC wins in the history of the promotion, but the funny thing is, numerous times in his UFC career people thought he was washed up. Cerrone came into his fight with Mike Perry three back, losing 3 of his last 4 fights and the questions started swirling again, and of course in typical Cowboy fashion he submitted Perry in the 2<sup>nd</sup> round. The following fight against Alexander Hernandez who was a legitimate undefeated prospect Donald destroyed him on his way to another unanimous victory. Now Cerrone comes into Saturday night’s main event winning 3 of his last 4 fights with all the ‘washed up’ chatter having gone by the waste side. He is one of the most wellrounded fighters in the history of the sport and deserves to be back in the main event. Below is a look at Cerrone, by the numbers.</p><h2><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪10 wins by TKO ▪ 4.35 Landed ▪ 36.17% Accuracy</p><p>▪9 wins by Decision ▪ 4.18 Absorbed ▪ 73.28% Defended</p><p>▪17 wins by Submission</p><h2><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Donald Cerrone’s striking is world class. Phenomenal hand speed and muscle twitch, power in his hands to end a fight at any time and absolutely devastating leg kicks. Cowboy’s striking is legit. Period.)</p><p>• <strong>Ground Game </strong>(I said earlier he is one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of mixed martial arts and this is why. Donald Cerrone’s ground game is world class. People sleep on his ground game all the time but in terms of MMA fighters in the biggest promotion in the world his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is serious. 36 WINS, 17 BY SUBMISSION AND HE WILL SUBMIT YOU FROM ANYWHERE. That can’t be overstated.</p><p>• <strong>Range </strong>(Cerrone is a master at being able to land anything he wants from the perfect distance. He avoids game changing damage. That is an artform, and he paints a beautiful picture.)</p><p>• <strong>Fight IQ </strong>(The man is fighting in his 33<sup>rd</sup> fight in the UFC. He has seen it all , he has done it all.)</p><h2><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Pressure </strong>(One of the only CONS that Cowboy has anytime he is in the Octagon is how he handles pressure. If you come right at Cowboy and keep him moving backwards, his defense goes out the window… like completely. He cannot fight Saturday night off his back foot. His success is often tied to whether he is moving forward or backwards in a fight. He must move forward.)</p><p>• <b>Takedowns </b>(I may be nitpicking here but an area where Cowboy could improve is definitely his takedowns, specifically his double leg. Landing 36% of your takedowns in the UFC is not great, but it is serviceable.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/89EmnMfSWwj3-ghknd1hkXydWcE=/0x0:3565x2373/1200x800/filters:focal(1318x502:1888x1072)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58415489/884610850.jpg.0.jpg" style="width:700px;height:467px" /><br /><b>Justin Gaethje</b></p><p>Justin Gaethje comes into Saturday’s Main Event ranked the #5 lightweight fighter in the world. Even though he has managed to accumulate a 20-2 record, the majority of his fights were fought in the WSOF (World Series of Fighting) promotion. Although Gaethje has only had five fights in the Octagon, it’s been a trial by fire. A 3-2 record is actually solid when the fights are against Edson Barboza, Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez, Michael Johnson and James Vick. If there is one thing that has stood out in his limited time in the UFC, it’s power. Legitimate middleweight power, stuck in the frame of a 155 lbs lightweight. He is a couple wins away from UFC title shot so he knows this is a must win. Can Justin Gaethje take the next step forward in his evolution? Below is a look at Justin Gaethje, by the numbers.</p><h2><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪16 wins by TKO ▪ 8.50 Landed ▪ 0% Accuracy</p><p>▪2 wins by Decision ▪10.23 Absorbed ▪ 80% Defended</p><p>▪1 win by Submission</p><h2><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Power </strong>(If there are three people in the Lightweight division that hit harder than Gaethje I would be surprised. The kid has bricks in his glove.)</p><p>• <strong>Controlling Pace </strong>(Gaethje draws almost everyone he fights into his type of fight pace, a barroom brawl in the mud. The weirdest facet of Gaethje’s game is when he is on the edge of losing he miraculously is also closest to winning.</p><p>• <strong>Leg Strikes </strong>( If Barboza has the most terrifying leg kicks in the Lightweight division, Gaethje is in the top 5. He is fully capable of kicking your liver through your back.)</p><p>• <strong>Clinch Strikes</strong> (When Gaethje gets inside, and I mean all the way inside….. He consistently finds the button(jaw) in the clinch. If he had his way, every fight would be fought in a phone booth.)</p><h2><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong> Chin</strong> (Lately Gaethje’s chin has been suspect but, if it isn’t coming from a counterpunch in a wild exchange he tends to hold up well. Probably a net negative though.)</p><p>• <strong>Ground Game</strong> (Has shown zero skills in BJJ, from what we’ve seen so far, he lacks the ability to roll in scrambles and has shown no desire to take anyone down. If there is one bright spot in a ground game that is nonexistent, he does have a solid sprawl per attempt ratio but that is it.</p><p>• <strong>Fight IQ</strong> (I swear when you watch a Justin Gaethje fight, you could literally see the thought bubble above his head that says….. “JUSTIN LIKE SMASH HARD.” He is a total meathead and it’s served him well, but these constant step ups in competition against high IQ fighters have already cost him fights.)</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&amp;a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&amp;f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a></p><h2><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></h2><p><strong>So, who wins this fight? What do we know……? This fight is very similar to the Donald Cerrone vs Mike Perry fight. Mike Perry is a poor mans Justin Gaethje. Perry is not as accurate a striker and probably doesn’t have the power Gaethje has but similar, nonetheless. Perry tried to take Cowboy down in that fight and Cerrone made him pay for it with a submission victory. </strong></p><p><strong>Will this fight go the same way? Probably not. Justin Gaethje will want to keep this standing the entire fight. If he has his way, he will fight 5 rounds in a phone booth. Gaethje believes he can knock everyone on the roster out. His strategy is this, can I get one clean shot on Cerrone’s chin in 5 rounds? If the answer is yes, he probably wins the fight. Cerrone has been dropped before and getting up in age is not great for the chin.</strong></p><p><strong>This is a weird fight for me to pick. Donald Cerrone has about a dozen more paths to victory, so you would think at that plus price it’s a no brainer, but Is it though? Justin Gaethje has an incredible chin, so he will probably be able to sustain the volume striking of Donald Cerrone. If that is the case, and Cerrone can’t finish him, Gaethje will have 25 minutes to land the kill shot.</strong></p><p><strong>So, what’s the verdict? This is how I see this fight playing out… Donald Cerrone will be winning this fight right up until the moment he loses it. Gaethje is not going to fear Cerrone’s striking. He is going to welcome Cowboy stepping into the phone booth and trading with him. He will let Cowboy get his shots off, and the second that Cerrone feels comfortable, he will land the counter that puts Cerrone down.</strong></p><p><strong>This is the problem. We are not going to lay (1.52) on the decimal with Justin Gaethje. What we’re going to do is get the +money price on Gaethje by TKO. The props have not dropped as of the writing of this article, but my guess is he will be around (2.60) by TKO. Anything over (2.40) is worth it considering it’s his only path to victory so if he wins, we most likely cash.</strong></p><p><strong>Since the odds have not dropped yet, check ‘The Sports Keg’ and ‘OddsMarket’ twitter account (@TheSportsKegCEO and @OddsMarket) on Friday to see if the pick is OFFICIAL. I just have to see what odds they drop first but if it’s soild, we will be on Justin Gaethje by TKO. </strong></p><p><em><strong>Justin Gaethje to win by TKO</strong></em></p></div>
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