Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje UFC Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/14/18
Gaethje vs. Poirier
UFC: Saturday, April 14, 2018 (Gila River Arena)
The Line: Poirier -140 / Gaethje +120 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje fight Saturday during UFC on Fox 29 at the Gila River Arena.
Dustin Poirier enters this fight with a 22-5 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Poirier has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a November win over Anthony Pettis. Poirier is averaging 5.08 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Poirier is averaging 1.99 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 45.2 percent. Poirier is coming off a knockout victory in which he earned fight of the night, as he landed 71 strikes and produced five takedowns. Poirier has still lost just one fight since his 2014 bout against Conor McGregor and could soon be in a title position if he continues this stretch. Poirier has proven to be an accurate striker with variety to his punches, and six of his last eight victories have come by knockout. Poirier also has an effective ground and pound if a fight goes to the canvas, as only 67 percent of his strikes come standing up. Poirier is simply a balanced fighter who should enter this bout with a lot of confidence. This will be Poirier’s first career fight in Arizona.
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Justin Gaethje enters this fight with a 18-1 record and has won 83 percent of his fights by knockout. Gaethje has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a December loss to Eddie Alvarez. Gaethje is averaging 9.5 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 54.9 percent. Gaethje is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Gaethje is coming off the first loss of his career in which he ate 162 strikes and was knocked out in the third round. The meeting earned fight of the night honors. Gaethje is now 1-1 in the UFC and he’s lived up to his reputation of being a striker at heart, as he throws a ton of punches, lands at a high percentage and 12 of his last 13 wins have been knockouts. Gaethje brings a lot of energy to the octagon where he’s usually the aggressor, and he is also a polished wrestler with a background that dates back to high school and the University of Northern Colorado. Gaethje has yet to produce a takedown in his first two fights, and you’d think he would look to tap into that side of his game if he hopes to climb the rankings. This will be Gaethje’s sixth career fight in Arizona, his birthplace.
When you have the striking ability and the power that Gaethje has, you have to consider him and the plus money. If he can prevent a takedown and turn this into another old school brawl, he always has a chance to win. The problem is Gaethje has shown that he wants to stand up and trade punches in his first two UFC fights and his defense hasn’t been great. Gaethje will also need to tap into that wrestling background at some point. Poirier is too polished and balanced of a fighter to allow his opponent to dictate the pace. Poirier is more than capable of trading strikes all day, but he’s likely going to force the clinch, execute some takedowns and take Gaethje out of his comfort zone. There’s nothing I’ve seen from Gaethje in his first two bouts that suggests he can survive that.
Poirier gets the victory here.