By the Numbers: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje

By: Mark Raymundo
Sep 11, 2019

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Fans in Vancouver will be treated to an explosive main event pitting Donald Cerrone against Justin Gaethje. The two elite lightweights ranked fourth and fifth respectively will come to blows on Sept. 14 at UFC Fight Night 158. As they get their game plans ready, consider some of the significant numbers ahead of their upcoming encounter.

Age and pro MMA experience

Thirty-six-year-old Cerrone started his career on Feb. 11, 2006, defeating fellow future Ultimate Fighting Championship star Nate Mohr in an event called Ring of Fire 21: Full Blast. He fought mostly for that promotion before getting signed by World Extreme Cagefighting and then, later, the UFC. His overall record is 36-12 with one No Contest.

The younger Gaethje, now 30 years old, made his pro debut in the same promotion as Cerrone. At ROF 41: Bragging Rights, he slammed Kevin Croom to sleep and in so doing put all the top 155ers on notice. His star was shining its brightest when he entered World Series of Fighting and became its lightweight champion. At the end of his reign, Gaethje had yet to suffer a loss. Eventually, he was signed by the UFC, and he now sports an overall record of 20-2.

Knockout rate

When Gaethje steps inside the cage, his plan involves flattening his opponent with some lethal strikes, and he has to this point been successful on 17 occasions. With 20 wins to his name, he boasts a knockout rate of 85 percent. His most notable victims are Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Brian Foster, Luis Palomino and Nick Newell.

Cerrone is just as deadly on the feet, with 10 of his 36 victories coming by KO or TKO. That makes for a 28 percent knockout rate. The dynamic striker from Broomfield, Colorado known to make good use of his length and range has starched the likes of Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Matt Brown, Patrick Cote and Rick Story.

Submission rate

Perhaps not common knowledge among fans, Cerrone is a jiu-jitsu black belt under former UFC standout, Eliot Marshall. This explains his high submission rate of 47 percent and his having put away 17 opponents with chokes or joint locks. His victims inside the Octagon include Mike Perry, Alex Oliveira, Edson Barboza, Evan Dunham, Dennis Siver and Paul Kelly. In turn, he has been submitted only once courtesy of Benson Henderson.

Given his aforementioned propensity for lethal striking, Gaethje’s game plan is not a well-kept secret. The man they call “The Highlight” owns only one triumph by submission, a rear-naked choke finish at Rage in the Cage.

Career losses

Gaethje’s two defeats were dealt by top-level competition, namely Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom managed to knock Gaethje out. The more experienced Cerrone has suffered a total of 12 losses. He bowed twice to Rafael dos Anjos and Benson Henderson and once to Tony Ferguson, Leon Edwards, Darren Till, Robbie Lawler, Jorge Masvidal, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz and Jamie Varner. Advertisement

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