UFC Fight Night 158 in Vancouver, British Columbia always looked like a pretty strong action card on paper and in execution, it delivered really well too. The early preliminary fights all felt pretty slow – save for Chas Skelly vs. Jordan Griffin, an excellent grappling match – but once Augusto Sakai signed that portion of the card off by KOing Marcin Tybura, it was all uphill.
Did Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje deliver the Fight of the Year Candidate that we were all hoping for? Well, no, it just didn’t go on long enough, but despite that I thought that this was one of the better Fight Night cards of 2019 thus far.
Here are the best and worst moments from UFC Fight Night 158: Cerrone vs. Gaethje.
#1 Best: Gaethje shows his power again
Coming into the fight between Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Justin Gaethje, a lot of fans were expecting an instant classic. I was hoping for the same but did have the nagging feeling that Gaethje would simply be able to catch Cerrone with a powerful shot and finish him early. Turns out that nagging feeling was spot on.
Both men landed some decent shots early on but later in the first round, Gaethje caught Cerrone with a brutal, clean right hook that dropped him to his knees. Seconds later ‘The Highlight’ had sealed the deal with another knockdown and some follow-up shots – some of which felt largely pointless in a strange bit of refereeing from Jerin Valel.
After his losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier seemed to suggest that Gaethje had hit his ceiling in the UFC, the former WSOF champion has looked better than ever – and this knockout was his third first round finish in a row. According to Gaethje and his team, he’s made some adjustments – and while they’re hard to see as it feels like he’s fighting in the same way he always did, they’re evidently working well.
Post he fight, he called out the winner of the hopefully upcoming Khabib Nurmagomedov/Tony Ferguson clash, and I can’t see that fight being anything but fantastic if the UFC indeed book it. Simply put, Gaethje is one of the best fighters in the entire sport to watch right now.