A barn-burner is expected when two of the UFC’s most exciting fighters square off the main event of UFC Fight Night Vancouver on September 14, 2019, at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada.

“Fighting" Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is one of the most popular fighters in UFC history. Cowboy holds the record for most wins inside the octagon with 22 and he is also the promotion’s record-holder for most finishes with 16. He also has 18 post-fight bonuses because of his fan-friendly fighting style. He fought for the UFC lightweight title once but lost to Rafael Dos Anjos in 2015.

The 36-year-old Cerrone has a record of 36-12-0-1 with 10 knockouts and 17 submission victories. He stands 6-1 and has a reach of 73 inches while fighting at the orthodox stance. After a failed attempt at welterweight, Cerrone returned to lightweight this year and has netted three straight Fight of the Night bonuses. Cowboy is coming off a 2nd round loss to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238.

Cowboy is averaging 4.35 significant strikes landed per minute at a 46% accuracy rate. He gets tagged with 4.18 significant strikes per minute and has a 54% striking defense. On the ground, he is equally effective with 1.22 takedowns landed per 15 minutes at a 36% completion rate. Cerrone’s takedown defense is 73% and he averages 1.3 submission attempts per 15 minutes.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from Betonline.ag as of 8/09/19

“Fighting" Justin “Highlight” Gaethje

Justin Gaethje entered the UFC with plenty of hype. The former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion arrived with a perfect record of 17-0 with 14 knockouts and a reputation of being one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. He started his UFC career with a knockout win over Michael Johnson but he’s been just 2-2 since his UFC debut.

The 30-year-old Gaethje stands 5-11 with a reach of 71 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has an MMA record of 20-2 with 17 knockouts and one submission. Gaethje is currently ranked 5th in the UFC lightweight division and is coming off back to back first-round knockout wins over James Vick and Edson Barboza.

The Highlight is an aggressive, come-forward fighter who averages 8.5 significant strikes landed per minute at a 54% accuracy. However, he also absorbs an insane 10.23 significant strikes per minute. He has never been taken down in the UFC and has an 80% takedown defense. He has also not attempted a takedown inside the octagon.

“Fighting" Who Wins?

When the MMA betting lines were first posted last month, Gaethje opened as a -250 betting favorite against Cowboy who came back at +210. The lines have moved since then, but not much. Still, it’s really very interesting to find Gaethje as a sizeable favorite against the much more experienced and crafty Cerrone.

For one, Cerrone has the height and reach advantage on Gaethje and that size difference could matter for a come-forward fighter like Highlight. Cerrone is also a complete fighter who can win on his feet and on the ground. That could also be a factor against a stand-up brawler like Gaethje who hasn’t been taken down in his UFC career. Finally, Cerrone’s experience against the UFC’s marquee fighters could erase the age factor in this bout. While Cerrone is 36, he didn’t look his age in his last bout against Tony Ferguson who is arguably the best lightweight today.

Look, I like Justin Gaethje a lot. He truly deserves the nickname “Highlight” because every fight of his has been a highlight reel. That guy is excitement personified inside the octagon. However, in as much as I like Justin Gaethje, he’s a one-trick pony whose main defense is his solid chin and elite durability. Although he’s come up with spectacular knockout wins, those victories came after taking heavy punishment.

The problem with Justin Gaethje is that he likes to use himself as a bait in order to land his big punches. He doesn’t care if you hit him a lot because he can hit you back and hit you back harder. This isn’t just my observation, these are facts because according to Fightmetric.com, Gaethje absorbs a ridiculous 10.23 significant strikes per minute. That’s not going to work against a cerebral assassin like Cowboy Cerrone.

Cerrone is one of the smartest fighters in the UFC and one of the craftiest strikers in the business. He will take advantage of any opening and opportunity you are going to give him. Against Gaethje, the bank will be wide open for Cowboy Cerrone to cash in if he plays it correctly.

My only problem with Cerrone is that he’s been knocked out before and when he’s hurt, he doesn’t deal with adversity well. However, I was quite impressed with how he fought Tony Ferguson despite him losing that bout. I think Cerrone is past his prime and is no longer a contender at this point. Call him a gatekeeper but he can still go at it with the best.

I think Gaethje hits much harder and he can knock out Cerrone if he plays his cards well. But I think Cowboy is much smarter, much craftier and has more tools to win this match-up. I’m excited to see Cowboy at plus money at this point in time. He’s always an enticing underdog but in this one, I think he has a big chance to win this bout. People are calling this a fight of the year candidate already and I hope it lives up to its billing. These are fighters who love to please the crowd more than win the fight itself. I’m picking Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone to defeat Justin Gaethje at UFC Fight Night Vancouver. Prediction: Donald Cerrone

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