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‘Cowboy’ to ride out of Vancouver with the win? Get UFC on ESPN+ 16 tips

Leigh Copson 12 Sep 2019
Donald Cerrone (L) in action (credit:USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images)

Donald Cerrone v Justin Gaethje predictions and more for UFC on ESPN+ 16 on Saturday, September 14. Can Donald Cerrone return to winning ways at the expense of Justin Gaethje, and will Nikita Krylov stake his claim to a spot in the top 10 of the light-heavyweight division by getting the better of veteran Glover Teixeira? Read on for our free predictions and betting tips for UFC on ESPN+ 16.

Donald Cerrone v Justin Gaethje

This is fight number 50 for Donald Cerrone as a professional mixed martial artist, but can the Hall of Fame-bound fighter celebrate his half-century in style this Saturday night. ‘Cowboy’ went on a tear between November 2018 and May 2019 as he reeled off a three-fight win streak, but that sequence was brought to a bloody halt in June of this year when he made a critical error in his lightweight showdown with Tony Ferguson. Cerrone sustained a broken nose during the bout and did the one thing you should not do when that happens – he blew his nose in between rounds. Immediately his right eye closed up and forced the doctor to step in and wave it off, halting his best run of results for over two years. So can the 36-year-old bounce back in Vancouver?

Providing the opposition is former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. ‘The Highlight’ arrived in the UFC with plenty of hype just over two years ago, but after enjoying a winning debut his stock took a hit with back-to-back stoppage defeats at the hands of both Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Gaethje has bounced back though with impressive first-round stoppages of James Vick and Edson Barboza, and he will now look to make it three-in-a-row by claiming arguably the biggest scalp of his career on Saturday night. He desperately needs this win too. Gaethje admits his win-or-bust mentality inside the Octagon is likely to result in a short career so if he is to force his way into the title picture at 155lbs he needs to hurry up. This is a must-win bout for the 30-year-old – will he deliver?

My answer is yes. I am a big fan of Cerrone by stylistically this is a nightmare match-up for ‘Cowboy’. He has tended to struggle when coming up against fighters that have put pressure on him and backed him up against the cage – see the Rafael dos Anjos, Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and Darren Till fights as evidence of that. That is exactly what Gaethje will do here. He will be relentless in his attacks, mix up his strikes to punish both Cerrone’s body and his head, and at some point in the contest he will land the decisive blow that ends it. ‘Cowboy’ has taken plenty of punishment in his career and at this stage I do not see him standing up to the strikes of possibly the heaviest hitter in the entire division, especially when you consider he is only a few months removed from that loss to Ferguson. 

Glover Teixeira v Nikita Krylov

2019 has been a positive year for Glover Teixeira so far – he has won back-to-back fights for the first time since late 2015/early 2016 and in a weak light-heavyweight division he finds himself in the top eight as a result. A title shot hardly appears to be in his future though, no matter what happens here, with retirement looking a lot closer. The Brazilian will turn 40 in October and perhaps this will prove to be his farewell outing – if it is I expect him to go out in style. Both of his victories so far this year have come via submission and in Nikita Krylov he is facing a man who has been submitted five times in his career, with his most recent tap-out coming against Jan Blachowicz a year ago. At some point Teixeira will get this fight to the ground and when he does it will be game over for Krylov who will have no choice but to concede defeat.

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‘Cowboy’ to ride out of Vancouver with the win? Get UFC on ESPN+ 16 tips

Donald Cerrone v Justin Gaethje predictions and more for UFC on ESPN+ 16 on Saturday, September 14.

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