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UFC on ESPN2: Barboza vs. Gaethje preview

Barboza vs Gaethje Poster
Credit: Screenshot

This Saturday two exciting Lightweight strikers clash in the main event taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Brazilian Edson Barboza takes on Justin “The Hightlight” Gaethje. We’ve reviewed how these exciting fighters match up and have made our prediction below!

What does Gaethje need to do differently?

A lot of commentators are stating that Justin Gaethje will throw technique out of the window this Saturday. They are predicting that he will rather naively throw down with reckless intent against Edson Barboza. I strongly disagree. Take his fight against James Vick. Justin managed to knock James out in a few short minutes, but I feel that this was a lot more thought out and calculated than people give Justin credit for.

Something which many don’t know about Gaethje is that he is a Division I NCAA All-American wrestler. You don’t gain this title be receiving it in a box of corn flakes…This accolade is earned by true toughness and determination.

We haven’t seen Gaethje use his wrestling that much in his UFC career, however, it’s never too late to start! Edson Barboza struggled against Khabib who managed to out grapple the Brazilian from pillar to post. Justin has one of the smartest head coaches around in his corner, Trevor Whitman. You may recognise Trevor from his work with ESPN analysing the coaching given to fighters in between rounds.

With an intelligent coach like Trevor, Justin could look to play the smart game and out grapple Edson. Edson is also susceptible to strikes within range and Tony Ferguson outlined the perfect blueprint to beat Barboza. Tony never let Edson settle and constantly put pressure on him. Justin Gaethje is more than capable of doing this as well. Justin also holds devastating one punch knockout power.

Is Barboza really the clear pick?

Listening to this week’s podcast by The Fight Disciples, they argue that this fight is perfect for Edson Barboza. Against a tornado like Justin, they believe that it’s a great way for the Brazilian to showcase his wide range of skills. He holds many highlight reel knockouts and is no slouch in the grappling game! Many in Edson’s camp were surprised that Khabib Nurmagomedov managed to get the better of Edson in the grappling game. Barboza’s training partners have stated that he is very hard to take down. But this could just be down to Khabib being on another level.

We are proposing that there are two key ways in which Edson could get the victory. Firstly, with the way Justin fights and if he stays out of range, Barboza could do some real damage with leg kicks. Edson could quite easily chop Justin down like a Christmas tree.

Together with the leg kicks, Edson could also have success attacking the body of Gaethje. This will slow Justin right down, especially given the fact that Justin is a high pressure fighter.

Fight Prediction

As of late, main event fights have produced an upset. Look at Jorge Masvidal and Anthony Pettis. If we were to vote with our head, we’d pick Barboza by knockout. However, we have a gut feeling that Gaethje is going to bring something out of his game that we’ve not seen before. With this in mind, we’re picking Justin Gaethje to get it done by knockout. We’re living life on the edge for a change!

Prediction: Gaethje by knockout.

Have your say on the main event by picking the winner in our twitter poll below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our fitness app review from creators AnyKey Fitness!

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