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

The last time he stepped in the cage, Gaethje earned a victory in the 1st round against Edson Barboza by stoppage. In the lightweight division, he is 52nd in strikes with 351 and 229th out of all fighters in the UFC. Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje comes into the cage with 20 wins and 2 losses. The Arvada, CO standout is 30 years old, weighs in at 155 lbs and stands 5'11" tall. He has a 70.0" reach and fights in the lightweight division. Gaethje has a total of 4 fights in the UFC.

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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.

A likely inhabitant of that spot is the winner in Vancouver on September 14, between top-5 contenders Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone; on one side, a fighter who seemed to find a ceiling on his extraordinarily violent style early in his UFC tenure only to shatter it and remain in the top 5 anyway, and on the other, one whos maintained absurd staying-power as a borderline-elite presence despite sustaining one-sided losses from time-to-time that would spell the end of that status for anyone else.

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The wounds from that bloody battle have barely had time to heal, and while his willingness to fight anyone, anywhere, has seen Cerrone write himself into UFC folklore, Cowboys camp has to be concerned that hes not at 100% this weekend. Cerrone is also an accomplished wrestler, and the older man may have to take this fight to the canvas to get the win he needs. Cowboy has struggled against opponents in the past whove applied serious pressure, not least in his last bout against Ferguson.

Gaethje is averaging 8.50 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 55 percent. Gaethje can give and take a beating, and he loves coming forward with pressure, making his opponent uncomfortable and keeping them on their toes. Gaethje has shown throughout his career that the striking power and the chin is there for him to hold his own with anybody standing up, and he proved that even more in his last bout. Justin Gaethje enters this fight with a 20-2 record and has won 85 percent of his fights by knockout. At this point, Gaethje seems to be 100 percent dedicated to his standup and wants to head hunt. This will be Gaethjes first career fight outside of the United States. Gaethje has earned performance bonuses in all five of his UFC fights. It was a risky game plan, but its what we expect from Gaethje, and he showed just how powerful his hands are if he lands clean flesh. Gaethje is fresh off probably the biggest win of his career and the most impressive, as he stood in there with a dangerous strike in Barboza, ate the leg kicks and landed a nasty right hand that knocked the lights out. Gaethje has won 10 of his last 12 fights and is coming off a March win over Edson Barboza. However, Gaethje comes from a wrestling background and has a trainer who works relentlessly on technique, so at some point youd think that would come into play. Gaethje is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent.

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.

In regard to experience in the UFC, Gaethje has 4 fights which means he has less UFC experience, while Cerrone has compiled a total of 30 fights in the Octagon. In relation to reach, Gaethje measures 70.0" while Cerrone measures out at 73.0" meaning Gaethje is going to want to close the space so Donald Cerrone won't be able to use it to his advantage. Gaethje is the younger combatant in this fight at 30 years old while Cerrone is the older combatant in this fight at 36 years old. Justin Gaethje has the better eye for striking, landing 54.7% of his strikes which means Donald Cerrone will look to be on the watch for big shots. When it comes to overall mixed martial arts experience, Gaethje has 20 wins and 2 losses while Donald Cerrone is the owner of an overall fight record of 36 wins and 12 losses. When looking at this fight with Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone, you will want to know how these two fighters stack up to one another. In relation to physical attributes, let us start by taking a look at Justin Gaethje who is 5'11", while the opponent on the other side of the cage is 6'1".

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.

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Gaethjes flaws tend to just be fighters better in his preferred areas than he is; to date, no opponent has been able to outright deny Gaethje of his favored fight, and none have been able to shut him out in that range either, but Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier (and, to some effect, Michael Johnson) were able to find opportunities with their deep skillsets in the pocket. Unlike certain other elite lightweights (such as Barboza), there isnt a key to beating Gaethje that drastically reduces his effectiveness; anyone who faces him is forced to concede his fight, and the only way to beat him so far has been to be better than him where hes best. Alvarez and Poirier, in particular, did a great deal of work drawing and manipulating Gaethjes guard to strike elsewhere (e.g. Alvarez using body shots to set up the uppercut, Poirier using the jab to draw the shell and punching around it), where Johnson found most of his success on the counter.

Gaethjes pressure game is quietly one of the soundest in MMA, in fact; his feet are extremely disciplined in cutting his opponent off, he can feint forward and jab to push his opponent back, and hes a very good counterpuncher (often of the catch-and-pitch variety) which doesnt allow his opponents to just swarm him and get off the fence. Combined with his underrated athleticism for the division (he might be the best athlete at 155, in fact, between his freakish durability and pace, as well as the power in his hands), Gaethjes technical game has been an ordeal to deal with for each of his five UFC opponents win or lose. Gaethjes game of pure pressure is deceptively thoughtful; fighters who fit the aggressive-swarmer archetype tend to be underrated technically and defensively, and Gaethje is no exception.

In the matter of strikes, Cerrone is 27th out of all fighters in the UFC and 8th out of all the athletes in the division with 1,278. He has earned a total of 30 fights in the UFC. Entering the cage for this fight, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone has a total of 36 wins and 12 losses. The USA fighter competes in the lightweight division and has a 73.0" reach. Donald Cerrone took a loss by unanimous decision when he faced Tony Ferguson in his most recent fight at UFC 238 - Chicago 2019. The 36-year-old fighting out of Albuquerque, NM measures 6'1" tall and steps on the scale at 155 lbs.

Gaethje will be wise to throw his thunderous leg kicks to slow Cerrone down and force the pressure. If Gaethje walks Cerrone down like he did Barboza he could easily overwhelm him and finish the fight quickly but Cerrones experience will be crucial. This should be a stand-up war with Gaethje having a power advantage and Cerrone a technique advantage.