UFC 268 Preview: Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

UFC 268 Preview: Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

For some reason, Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler is opening the pay per view card instead of being right behind the two title fights despite being the best fight on the card. I guess they want to start things off with a bang. Regardless, we are treating it as if it were and breaking down the UFC 268 bout between the two sooner rather than later.

If you’ve missed the first two previews, check them out below! I broke down Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 and Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang 2!

Justin Gaethje: Most to lose at UFC 268

With Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier fighting for the title in December, Justin Gaethje is next in line. Initially, I thought Gaethje and Poirier were to fight for the title being that they were the last two that fought Khabib and had interim belts. But the UFC had different plans. At UFC 268, Justin Gaethje has the most to lose. A loss to Michael Chandler would mean he is out on a potential title shot against the winner of Oliveira and Poirier.

Michael Chandler starts off the fight very fast and explosive, something Dan Hooker can attest to. Gaethje will be aware of this. I look for Gaethje to start working the legs early, blasting away the wrestling strength that Chandler uses later on in fights when he’s not fresh. The calf kick is the furthest strike away but if Gaethje gets careless and throws them without setting up, Chandler will time it and blitz in looking to clip the granite-chinned Gaethje.

Later in the fight, should Chandler survive, Gaethje will be wary of the wrestling and piece up Chandler at a distance akin to how he did to Tony Fergueson. Picking Chandler apart will serve him best and keep him out of danger the best. With the new version of Justin Gaethje, don’t expect a brawl, expect a masterpiece.

Michael Chandler Proving He Belongs

Michael Chandler has to prove that he belongs in the UFC. While a lot of people counted him out for losing the title fight against Oliveira, even though he was on the brink of winning, Chandler has lost much of his hype going into the fight at UFC 268. Justin Gaethje is very beloved by the fans and a win over Gaethje would be just what the doctor ordered.

For Chandler, not tiring out is the name of the game against Gaethje. We saw a great opening round against Oliveira but faded very quickly in the same round. Then the second saw Chandler finished quickly at 19 seconds. For Chandler, he will want to go out and wrestle early while the two are not sweaty and Gaethje can slip away. While wrestling, he can grind the fight out and put on a dominant performance the likes of which we all know him for in Bellator during his reign.

Chandler will want to get to wrestling quickly as well and not let the kicks and damage pile up from Gaethje. If Justin Gaethje fights like he normally does and lands a load of leg kicks, the longer Chandler waits, the harder a takedown will be. Chandler needs to set the pace early and dictate where the fight will be.

Tune in tomorrow as I do the final preview on UFC 268 with Frankie Edgar and Chito Vera!

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