The Conway UFC Predictions: Gaethje vs Cerrone
By Alex Conway
Tonight promises to bring one of the most violent fights the UFC will see this year.
Justin Gaethje takes on Donald Cerrone in a lightweight main event in Vancouver, Canada. It can’t look much better on paper than a five-round fight between those two.
While I certainly believe this will be an action-packed affair, I think it’ll be more technical than people are giving it credit for.
Both fighters have a unique way of measuring distance with leg kicks instead of the jab and if you could bank on this fight going five rounds you’d probably see a combined record for leg kicks landed in a fight.
However, I don’t believe this fight goes five rounds.
Gaethje is a on a two-fight winning streak, both first round knockouts, and in them he has shown a slight tweak in his strategy. He’s gone to the body a little more instead of just head hunting, which has opened up his ability to get the knockout.
Usually Gaethje focuses on head shots and leg kicks. Cerrone does much of the same but with more jabs and of course, he goes to the head with kicks far more often than Gaethje does.
Cerrone is underrated in the clinch, but this is an area where Gaethje should have an advantage and could end up winning the fight. Gaethje likes to throw leg kicks from the clinch and then go to the head off that technique.
The biggest question I have in this fight is who will be more durable? Cerrone doesn’t have a bad chin but he has been stopped plenty of times in his career. Gaethje has been knocked out twice in his UFC career but I would argue that both came because his all-offense attack caused him to run out of gas.
It was almost like a video game where the stamina bar is on empty and the next strike is a guaranteed knockout.
Cerrone is much more susceptible to the one-strike technique laying waste to his night than Gaethje, but if can avoid that I think he can head kick KO Gaethje late in the fight.
If not, I think Gaethje gets another early knockout victory by catching Cerrone with something big. At times, Cerrone’s attacks can get very rhythmic, which either lulls his opponent into a trap, or allows them to set their own trap for Cerrone because they’ve picked up on his cadence.
That’s the key to this fight. Sounds basic, but whoever figures out who first, is going to put the other guy to sleep. If somehow this goes five rounds it’ll be a lock for “Fight of the Year” for 2019.
My gut says Gaethje gets the win here, but let’s all enjoy the festivities tonight.