When thinking about what UFC was originally made for and the “just bleed” fans that follow hawkishly, Saturday night’s main event from Vancouver is just what they’ve been waiting for when Justin Gaethje and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone meet at UFC Fight Night 158. The pair of fighters who do nothing but give fans all action fights, as evidenced by the Performance of the Night bonuses that have lined their bank accounts.
The fight reads as pure entertainment on paper because, as UFC legend Chael Sonnen recently put it, “Cowboy has never lost and Gaethje is undefeated.” Meaning, regardless of record, the quality of performance both men give every time out is so high that they come out winners every fight regardless of if their hand is raised in victory.
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Cerrone (36-12) is coming off a TKO loss to Tony Ferguson in June at UFC 238, snapping a three-fight winning streak for the fighter with the most fights, most wins, most stoppages and most performance bonuses in UFC history. The No. 4-ranked lightweight seems to be enjoying facing off with an opponent who’d rather cruise through the pre-fight festivities with no antics and simply throw down in a good ol’ fashioned fight.
Gaethje (20-2) is riding a two-fight winning streak with knockout victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza in his most recent fights. With six bonuses in five Octagon appearances, an all-offense style and no desire to trash talk, Gaethje and Cerrone are kindred spirits. And they’ve known each other fairly well dating back to 2012.
“In 2012, he brought me out to be a training partner when he fought Melvin Guillard,” Gaethje told ESPN. “I stayed at the ranch for him for two weeks, then I went to Vail, Colorado and I stayed in his RV with him for like two weeks. He almost knocked me out, he dropped me and gave me a good concussion. I was just a pure wrestler back then. For one, I’m glad to get that back from him and I’m a huge fan of MMA. He has the most fights, most wins, most performance bonuses in the history of the sport. Win, lose or draw it’ll be a great fight for my resume.”
The card on Saturday in Vancouver also features the return of some UFC veterans looking to make their way back up the rankings. A pair of light heavyweights clash in the co-main event when Nikita Krylov takes on Glover Teixeira. Krylov is coming off a submission win over Ovince Saint Preux and is 3-2 in his last five fights while Teixeira has two straight submission wins over Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba.
Saturday also marks the return of heavyweight Todd Duffee. The UFC vet returns after a four-year hiatus from fighting while battling injury and personal issues. All 12 fights in his career have ended via TKO with his last ending in a TKO loss to Frank Mir in 2015.
Here’s the fight card for UFC Fight Night 158 on Saturday night with the latest odds from MGM.
UFC Fight Night 158 card, odds
Justin Gaethje -165
Donald Cerrone +135
Nikita Krylov -130
Glover Teixeira -100
Jeff Hughes -115
Todd Duffee -115
|Antonio Carlos Junior -220||Uriah Hall +180||Middleweight|
|Michel Pereira -550||Tristan Connelly +375||Welterweight|
|Jim Crute -140||Misha Cirkunov +110||Light heavyweight|
UFC Fight Night 158 viewing information
Date: Sept. 14 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Rogers Arena — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Cerrone vs. Gaethje: Picking who wins feels almost unfair. These are two of the great action fighters not only on the current UFC roster, but in UFC history. We win. The fans who tune in pick up the win. This is, at its core, what we imagine the sport of mixed martial arts to be: a brutal conflict between men who don’t move backward. In picking a winner, I’m looking for the ultimate edge, and in this contest, that is stopping power. Both men can stop an opponent, but Gaethje has the one-shot power to end any fight at any given moment. Pick: Gaethje via TKO3