In this new specialist column to MMATorch, Rick Monsey and an opposing NERD compete for ultimate MMA bragging rights. This week they pick the UFC on Fox 29 main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
Being an MMA fan I enjoy watching individuals compete. With that in mind, a guest will be participating in this column with me. We’re going to have a journalistic competition of our own.
The rules to this are simple:
- We predict a winner and a looser for each fight and give a quick explanation behind the picks.
- There’s obviously a chance we would pick the same winners on occasion. Well in this competition there are no split decisions. To avoid a tie, we will also forecast the way the fight will end, for example, “third round by decision”.
- The person who gets the most picks right wins bragging rights.
Well folks, let’s get on with the show!
This week competitors are:
- Rick “the Alaskan” Monsey: Regular MMATorch contributor and occasional co-host for the “MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans” podcast.
- Annie Muñoz: She enjoys a glass of whiskey mixed with tap water while watching MMA fights.
Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
WHO: Justin Gaethje
HOW: Knock Out
WHEN: 3rd Round
WHY: One of the most bittersweet conundrums we as MMA fans may face, is when you see two fighters that you really like – go head to head. Again I say bittersweet, as it can also be one of the most exciting situations you may witness.
Let me start this off by saying – while I want Dustin Poirier to win and get one step closer to being a champ (a step that seems to have been in motion for some time now) – I do feel it’s possible and maybe even probable that Justin Gaethje could go home the victor.
In the case of Gaethje I do think that sometimes having the more “street” smarts in fighting is a plus. Even approaching the fight with a “happy-go-lucky” attitude like Gaethje does could put together the best mindset to take on a worthy opponent. To hear Gaethje say; “I could get knocked out in this fight” and to seemingly be not very concerned is a helpful mentality to bring into the Octagon. It’s a gift or a great act that Gaethje is able to put on and it looks good on him.
Meanwhile, Poirier has stated that this is the moment he’s been waiting for. That mentality can bring on loads of significant stress and pressure to put on oneself. At the same time as a professional athlete … how could you NOT feel that way? And I also think that not many fighters that are new to fatherhood have always come back from it stronger. While we might all like to think it can only help (and maybe for some fighters it does) they seem to be few and far between.
To put it frankly, I think that Gaethje will walk into Saturday’s main event and bounce back from his first professional loss. Proving that while Poirier has been acceptable in his career, he may not be the diamond in the rough we all hoped for.
WHO: Dustin Poirier
HOW: Knock Out
WHEN: 4th Round
WHY: Let me start this by saying that I am a huge fan of Justin Gaethje. I started watching Gaethje in 2013, back when he was one of the only fighters really worth watching on the old World Series of Fighting promotion.
With Gaethje’s effective leg kicks and plodding forward nonstop attack style he is very fun to watch. However, in WSOF Gaethje was fighting guys who were good but not elite. When Gaethje entered the UFC they paired him up with a fellow lightweight Michael Johnson. Finally someone who would give Gaethje a true test of his skills. The UFC had so much faith in Gaethje they put him in the main event. Gaethje did not disappoint as he put on a two round war with Johnson that many fans considered fight of the year candidate.
Fast forward to Gaethje’s second fight and he faced “The Underground King” Edward Alvarez. Alvarez did not let the fight be dragged down into the street fight brawl that Gaethje wanted. Gaethje was able to use the leg kicks effectively and land some heavy hands. But in the end Alvarez’s scored a third round knockout on Gaethje. Another great fight. But now the blue print to beat Gaethje has been exposed and Dustin Poirier is now ready to take advantage.
The first advantage Poirier has is that he’s riding high after an impressive win against the once champion Anthony Pettis. In that fight, Poirier broke Pettis both physically and mentally. Poirier has been fighting in the UFC for over seven years and Gaethje is his next obstacle to overtake for the well-deserved title shot.
Poirier has all the skills to beat Gaethje. With Poirier’s mixture of precise striking, takedowns and submission skills there is a plethora of ways this fight will end in his favor.
Yes, Gaethje is a wrestler and has plenty of ways to get the takedown as well. But Gaethje hasn’t used his wrestling skills very often rather relying more on wild striking. Poirier had taken down Pettis over and over and that’s what he will do to Gaethje. Poirier has been in the fourth round before but Gaethje has never been past the third round.
With that in mind Poirier should drag this fight out into deep water and score the knockout when Gaethje is in the unfamiliar territory of a longer fight.