UFC Fight Night: Gaethje vs Cerrone looks poised to deliver some exciting action on the back of an explosive headliner. Gaethje and Cerrone both love to instigate action and despite Cerrone starting to feel the effects of father time, he has never been one to back down from a stand-up war.
Gaethje will almost certainly look to get himself into a slugfest where he can open up his powerful hands and do some serious damage. Coming off his second career loss, Gaethje should be looking to produce a statement win in order to insert himself back into title contention.
However, the UFC is loaded with even more exciting cards in the weeks following Gaethje vs Cerrone. With two fight nights and a pay-per-view card all within the span of a month, there are a ton of exciting fights to unpack.
UFC Fight Night 158: Gaethje vs Cerrone – September 14
While the UFC has a number of exciting matchups scheduled in the near future, Justin Gaethje vs Donald Cerrone offers arguably the most exciting non-title fight coming up on the UFC schedule. Cerrone has long served as a gatekeeper to the division’s most elite while Gaethje looks to be a legitimate title contender whose only losses have come to former (and current) champions. Both men aren’t afraid to go toe to toe and trade power shots so don’t be surprised to see this follow a similar pattern to the majority of Cerrone’s fights.
The co-main event at Gaethje vs Cerrone is a high-stakes light heavyweight matchup between Glover Teixeira and Nikita Krylov. Teixeira was once one of the light heavyweight division’s most feared strikers, yet has shown an improved ground game in his veteran years. Looking to make one last run at the belt, Teixeira faces a tough matchup against Nikita Krylov. Krylov is coming off a big win over Ovince Saint-Preux and the multi-dimensional fighter is more than capable of giving Teixeira some trouble.
All UFC Fight Nights stream live on ESPN Plus. You can sign up here to watch all the action. A subscription is $4.99 per month. Here are some of the best matchups to keep your eye out for.
UFC 243: Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya – October 5
Israel Adesanya gets the chance to unify his interim middleweight belt at UFC 243 on October 5th in what is shaping up to be the most exciting fight in the aftermath of Gathje vs Cerrone. Adesanya faces off with current champions Robert Whittaker – who has been out of action since beating Yoel Romero in two consecutive fights, the last of which in June of 2018.
Adesanya picked up his interim belt in a resounding win over Kelvin Gastellum and looks to be one of the best pure strikers the middleweight division has seen since the likes of Anderson Silva. He showed a strong takedown defense against Gastellum but faces an entirely different challenge in Gastellum’s power wrestling and heavy hands.
Whittaker hasn’t lost since 2014 and should be by far the toughest test the young Adesanya has faced during his UFC tenure.
UFC Fight Night 159: Yair Rodriguez vs Jeremy Stephens – September 21
After a loss to Frankie Edgar derailed Yair Rodriguez’s run for a title shot, he responded in dramatic fashion with a last-second knockout over Chan Sung Jung in November of 2018. Rodriguez matches up with Jeremy Stephens on September 21st at Fight Night 159.
Rodriguez hasn’t fought since facing Jung and his return is one that is highly anticipated among MMA fans. A win for Rodriguez puts him likely a win away from a shot at the belt in one of the UFC’s most congested divisions under Max Holloway.
Jeremy Stephens looks to be in a similar position to Rodriguez in that should he find himself victorious, he is likely a win or two away from getting consideration for a shot at the belt. Stephens is coming off back to back losses and has repeatedly shown that while one of the featherweight division’s best fighters, he is more of a gatekeeper compared to a legitimate title contender.
UFC Fight Night 160: Jack Hermansson vs Jared Cannonier – September 28
Jack Hermansson has steadily worked his way up the middleweight rankings on the back of some extremely strong performances against impressive veteran fighters. Most recently, Hermansson took care of Jiu-Jitsu wizard Jacare Souza in a five-round decision win and has recently scored wins over names like Thales Leites and David Branch. While he still sits a few wins away from a title shot as Adesanya and Whittaker square things up, a win over Cannonier at the very least pushes Hermansson into serious consideration for a shot in the near future.
Jared Cannonier has looked scary good since dropping down to middleweight has collected a pair of finishes at the new weight. Initially a heavyweight, Cannonier looks to have a major strength advantage in the octagon and has the punching power to put out any middleweight who lines up across from him. Cannonier can firmly establish himself as a contender with a win over Hermansson and the fight looks to highlight the next big contender in the middleweight division.
Hermansson and Cannonier will link up as the headliner at UFC Fight Night 160 on September 28th.
UFC Fight Night 160: Gunnar Nelson vs Thiago Alves – September 28
Gunnar Nelson is coming off a split decision loss to one of the welterweight division’s top up and coming prospects and finds himself in a showdown with veteran Thiago Alves. Nelson has at times in his career looked like a legitimate title contender, though he has struggled to string together consecutive impressive victories to move himself up the food chain.
Thiago Alves is a shell of the once feared Welterweight fighter and has only won two of his last seven fights. Alves is still a dangerous striker capable of putting his opponents to sleep but likely this matchup serves more as a way for the UFC to hopefully get Nelson back on track with another win. At 31, this looks to be Nelson’s last real attempt to make a run at the belt before settling into a permanent gatekeeper role in the back half of his career.
Nelson and Alves link up as the co-main event at Fight Night 160 on September 28th.
UFC Fight Night 159: Carla Esparza vs Alexa Grasso – September 21
The Women’s strawweight division is one of the more loaded weight classes in the UFC. Both Carla Esparza and Alexa Grasso have proven themselves as top names in the weight class and after both suffered recent losses to Tatiana Suarez, a showdown between the two looks to be a solid springboard for the winner to build a case for a title shot.
Esparza was the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion before losing the belt to Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who would establish herself as the division’s most dominant champion to date. While Esparza has struggled compared to her successes early in her career recently, she has shown the ability to beat the division’s best and is a fighter that can never be counted out.
Esparza and Grasso meet up as the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 159 on September 21st.