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

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.

At UFC Fight Night - Ottawa 2019, he stepped out of the ring with a win via unanimous decision in round 5 when he faced Al Iaquinta. Cerrone sits at 2nd out of all the athletes in the division for significant strikes pointed at the body with 301 and 7th for significant strikes directed at the head with 525. Dillashaw by stoppage. In addition, Cerrone sits at 24th in the lightweight division and 105th among athletes in the UFC with a total of 16 takedowns. In the fight before that, Cerrone stepped out of the ring with a win in round 2 when he faced Alexander Hernandez at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. In the matter of strike accuracy, he is connecting on 51.6% of the strikes he has thrown which has him sitting at 48th in the lightweight division and 269th among athletes in the UFC. Sitting at 77th out of all the athletes in the division and 352nd among athletes in the UFC, Cerrone finishes 27.1% of his takedown tries. With 1,154 significant strikes, he sits at 9th among athletes in the UFC and 2nd out of all the athletes in the division.

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.

Gaethje is one of few fan-favourites to rival Cerrones notoriety. However, he got a taste of his own medicine in getting knocked out by Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier but got back to old ways in starching James Vick and Edson Barboza to set up this bout with Cerrone. Every fight is technical chaos and he maintained his reputation in his UFC debut by knocking Michael Johnson extending his unbeaten record and unholy knockout rate.

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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.

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.

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.

Cerrone is going to have a hard time keeping up. The technique isnt as good and theres counters there for the opening when it comes to fighting Gaethje, but weve seen Cowboy struggle with pressure fighters in the past and it doesnt get more dangerous than his opponent here. If other fighters were like him, this sport would be even bigger than it currently is. Gaethje is a brawler who is going to walk down his opponent and looks to finish things quickly with powerful hands. First off, we have to commend Cowboy and his schedule, as the guy never takes an easy fight and is back in the octagon before his wounds from his previous battle even had time to heal. We saw Cerrone struggle with the pressure, work rate and quickness from Ferguson, and Gaethje is even more wild and careless. With that out of the way, Gaethje should win this fight. Cerrone gives the fans what they want and hes a legend for that.

Defensively, Gaethje is actually fairly sound; while his approach leaves him in harms way fairly often, all of his opponents needed serious craft to land clean on his head through a high-guard that Gaethje uses as well as anyone (adjusting it as his opponent throws, countering out of it, and moving his head). All of that culminates in Gaethjes game with his opponent against the fence, which is where each of his last three wins ended; Gaethje can herd his opponent into one big shot, as he did to Vick and Barboza, but the Johnson performance was more characteristic of his punishing and relentless clinch-game against a tired foe. In the open, Gaethjes a very strong kicker, notably to the legs and on the counter, which often shortchanges his opponents combinations as it knocks them out of stance (as it did to Dustin Poirier numerous times), and theyre powerful enough to deal serious attritive damage extremely early in the fight.

Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje: Betting Tips, Odds & Predictions

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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.