Cowboy Cerrone vs Justin Gaethje
UFC 242 was a huge success going 2-1 on our plays hitting an underdog and a 3 leg parlay for + money! Dustin Poirier was unable to dethrone Khabib and I am honestly starting to wonder if anybody out there can. The UFC is NOT slowing down and we are headed to Canada for UFC Vancouver on Saturday 9/14/2019 for a free fight night with a headliner that is worthy of a Pay Per View. Fan favorite Donald “Cowboy’ Cerrone is facing Justin “The Highlight’ Gaethje in yet another short turn around after a disappointing loss to Tony Furguson via doctor stoppage after his eye swole up in round 2.
The main event is a fan’s dream come true and believe it or not the undercard is pretty good. UFC Vancouver features the long awaited return of UFC heavyweight Todd Duffee who has been out of action since his brutal KO loss to Frank Mir in 2015, a pair of possible contender fights between 4 top light heavyweights, and the second UFC outing for the human highlight reel for Michel Pereira. The undercard of UFC Vancouver is stacked with young rising talent that should be hungry to prove themselves and out to put on a show. One word of caution when betting UFC Vancouver is to keep an eye out for the home team. Canada has been notorious in MMA for robbing foreign fighters, so before you place a bet make sure you account for the fact that if their opponent is Canadien you might need better odds than you originally expected.
With all that juicy action happening on a free fight night we have to focus first and foremost on the main event. Both Cowboy and Gaethje have incredible fan friendly styles and neither fighter has ever been part of a boring MMA fight. Both men are more than willing to go out on their shield if it means they have the chance to put their opponent away and that mutual agreement for violence is going to be more than entertaining.
Donald Cerrone (+175) Stats:
- 36 years old
- 73 inch reach
- 4.25 Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute
- 4.18 Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute
- 1.22 Takedowns per 15 minutes
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
Donald Cerrone Notable Facts:
- Record: 36 – 12
- 4 – 2 in last 6
- 75% Finish Rate
Donald Cerrone has been in the game forever and is somehow only 36 years old. He fought Ben Henderson for the WEC title back in 2010 and made us all believers that the WEC fighters could not only hang with UFC fighters, but were far more dangerous than most by finishing 3 of his first 4 fights. Since then Cerrone has taken on all comers. Many fighters say they will fight anybody anywhere, but Donald may be one of the few who truly means it. After the birth of his child he has turned a corner and appears to be out to capture the UFC’s 155 pound belt for the first time in his career. He is well documented as not caring about titles and simply wanting fun and entertaining fights, but that seems to have changed. He has already fought 3 times in 2019 against young rising star Alexander Hernandez, 155 title challenger Al Iaquinta, and most recently against uncrowned 155 pound former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Cerrone may have lost the fight to Ferguson, but if not for the swollen eye he was in that fight giving it as good as he got. The fight was called by the doctor after round 2 and Cerrone looked ready to go for round 3. Cerrone completely dismantled Al Iaquinta who had given champion Khabib an unexpectedly great fight proving that he belonged at the top end of the division. Before that, Cerrone put the dangerous young finisher Hernendez in his place with a TKO and just the second loss of his career. Cerrone may just be the greatest fighter on the UFC roster to not hold a title and he is on a mission to change that. This is a fighter who I personally have underestimated MANY times and he has burned a hole in my wallet because of it.
Justin Gaethje (-205) Stats:
- 30 years old
- 70 inch reach
- 8.50 Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute
- 10.23 Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute
- 80% Takedown Defense
- NCAA D1 All American Wrestler
Justin Gaethje Notable Facts:
- Record: 20 – 2
- 3 – 2 in last 5 (UFC Career)
- 90% Finish Rate
Gathje is the rightful favorite in this fight. Justin stepped onto the UFC scene undefeated and with authority dove into the deep end at 155 facing Michael Johnson in 2017. Gaethje has an astounding 90% finish rate and puts a pace on his opponents that forces them to play his kill or be killed game. Justin might have the highest output of any UFC fighter with 8.50 significant strikes landed per minute over 5 fights however because of this he actually manages to absorb 10.23 significant strikes per minute in return. This strategy that he uses backfired when he faced off against UFC vets Eddie ALvarez and Dustin Poirier who were both just slightly more technical than Gaethje and able to land that kill shot before he did.
I expect Gathje to come out and push the action as always. Cerrone will have a size, height, and reach advantage on him that will make it more difficult for Gathje to close the distance and find Cerrone’s chin. Gaethje makes excellent use of leg kicks to break him opponent’s ability to maneuver away from him, but Cerrone is excellent at timing takedowns off of kicks and catching them. Gathje has an 80% takedown defense, but Cerrone lands 1.22 takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage. These two have similar skill sets and it appears that they both have the response to the other. This fight will be a barn burner and I have a hard time seeing it get out of round 2. The longer this fight goes however the more it favors Cerrone and if he is able to get it to the ground he will have a significant advantage over Gaethje. There was a time when I questioned Cerrone’s chin and durability, but those days seem to be behind. I can’t doubt Cerrone 2.0 and both Alvarez and Poirier proved that in a brawl the more technical fighter can beat Gaethje’s game of violence. I expect Cerrone to be able to solve that puzzle and get back on track for his title run.