UFC Vancouver: Cowboy vs. Gaethje Preview

A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Updated: Sept. 12, 2019 • 11:06 AM ET

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Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is looking to add another victory to his impressive resume.

In a lightweight bout, fan favorite Donald Cerrone and rising contender Justin Gaethje will headline UFC Vancouver this Saturday at Rogers Arena in British Columbia.

The No. 4 ranked Cerrone will try to rebound from a second-round TKO loss (doctor’s stoppage) to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 in June. The loss snapped Cerrone’s three-fight winning streak, which propelled him into the top five of the lightweight rankings after a previous run at welterweight.

Cerrone (36-12, 1 NC — 23-9 in the UFC) is on a quest to once again challenge for the lightweight title, and a win over Ferguson would have likely landed him that opportunity. He challenged for the title in 2015, but must now get a win against a younger fighter who likes to go to war and apply constant pressure.

Cerrone has fought in the UFC since 2011 and holds multiple records in the promotion, including the most wins (23), most finishes (16) and most post-fight bonuses (18). He’ll tie Jim Miller (33) for the most bouts in UFC history on Saturday and is tied for the second-most knockdowns (with Chuck Liddell) in UFC history with 16, behind only Anderson Silva (18).

The 36-year-old Cerrone has fought the very best at lightweight and welterweight with key victories over Al Iaquinta, Alexander Hernandez, Mike Perry, Yancy Medeiros, Matt Brown, Rick Story, Patrick Cote, Alex Oliveira, Benson Henderson, Eddie Alvarez, Miller, Edson Barboza and Jeremy Stephens, to name a few. A win over a fellow fan favorite and powerful fighter such as Gaethje could put Cerrone right back into the title picture at 155 pounds.

Gaethje and Cerrone were previously sparring partners, and the former remembers Cerrone getting the best of him.

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“Yeah, he knocked me out...He dropped me in sparring, it was 2012,” Gaethje (20-2 overall, 3-2 in UFC) recently said via MMA Junkie. “I don’t even know if I ever had a pro fight at the time. I was a kid then and a man now, so yeah, I’m excited to get in there and give him back that one.”

The No. 5 ranked Gaethje’s only two losses have come to former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former interim champion Dustin Poirier, but he’s on a two-fight winning streak with knockout wins over James Vick and Edson Barboza. In five UFC fights, the 30-year-old has won Fight of the Night honors four times and a Performance of the Night bonus with his victory over Vick.

The former WSOF lightweight champion could be a victory away from a title shot if he can beat Cerrone on Saturday. He has had his eyes set on challenging champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and believes if he gets the opportunity, he would pose a real threat.

“I think my wrestling credentials alone would benefit me so much in that fight, my ability to stop the takedown,” Gaethje said on an April episode of The MMA Hour. “I’m very confident in my standup, I’m confident in my coach and the game plan that we would come together with and go out there and execute. I think with my athletic ability, I’m a tough out for anybody.”


Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a light heavyweight fight between former title challenger Glover Teixeira and No. 13 ranked Nikita Krylov.

The No. 9 ranked Teixeira will ride two straight submission victories over Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba into the fight, and despite the 39-year-old being 7-4 since challenging Jon Jones for the title in 2014, he’s still a threat to anyone in the top 15 of the light heavyweight division.

Teixeira (29-7, 12-5 in UFC) has fought and defeated key opponents, including Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, Ovince Saint Preux, Rashad Evans, Jared Cannoneir and Misha Cirkunov. The Brazilian has 25 finishes in his career, still has significant punching power and continuously proves that if the fight goes to the ground, he’s equally dangerous.

Krylov is 1-1 during his second stint with the UFC, last defeating Ovince Saint Preux by submission at UFC 236 in April. The 27-year-old is 7-4 in the UFC and including Saint Preux, he has key victories over Fabio Maldonaldo, Emanuel Newton, Ed Herman and Walt Harris. Teixeira would represent the biggest win of Krylov’s career and the launching pad he needs for a top 10 ranking and a potential fight with a top five fighter.


The rest of the main card on ESPN+

Heavyweight bout - Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes

Welterweight bout - Michel Pereira vs. Sergey Khandozhko

Middleweight bout - No. 12 Uriah Hall vs. No. 13 Antônio Carlos Júnior        

Light heavyweight bout - No. 15 Misha Cirkunov vs. Jimmy Crute


ESPN+ Prelims

Heavyweight bout - No. 14 Marcin Tybura vs. No. 15 Augusto Sakai

Bantamweight bout - Cole Smith vs. Miles Johns

Middleweight bout - No. 14 Andrew Sanchez vs. Marvin Vettori

Bantamweight bout - Brad Katona vs. Hunter Azure

Featherweight bout - Chas Skelly vs. Jordan Griffin

Bantamweight bout - Louis Smolka vs. Ryan MacDonald

Featherweight bout - Kyle Prepolec vs. Austin Hubbard