UFC 255: Khabib v Gaethje odds and predictions
Jack Green makes his pick for the main event at UFC 254 on Fight Island, a lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
Khabib v Gaethje odds:
Saturday night’s main event has the look of an instant classic, as lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje.
It has been over a year since Nurmagomedov’s last fight, when he successfully defended his belt by submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September 2019.
During the Russian’s layoff, Gaethje has ascended to the top of the lightweight ranks by beating Donald Cerrone and long-time top contender Tony Ferguson, both by TKO.
Gaethje’s all-action style made him an instant fan favourite when he joined the UFC back in July 2017, but ‘The Highlight’ has become a much more polished fighter in the past couple of years and has looked incredible throughout his current four-fight KO streak.
Khabib, however, represents the biggest challenge of the American’s career to date. ‘The Eagle’ has still never lost in his 28-fight professional career, and has only lost one round in 12 UFC contests.
Nurmagomedov is the favourite to successfully defend his title again on Fight Island, while Gaethje is the underdog.
Khabib v Gaethje prediction:
Although this is the biggest test of Gaethje’s career, he also has the tools to cause Khabib major problems.
The 31-year-old clearly has dynamite in his fists, with his last nine wins all coming by stoppage, and he fights at a torrid pace that should help to put the champion on the back foot, where it will be much more difficult to land his takedowns.
Gaethje is also an excellent wrestler, so he should be able to stay off the mat more than other fighters that have fought Nurmagomedov.
Ultimately, though, Khabib has proven time and time again that he can use his incredible strength to dominate opponents of all shapes, sizes and styles.
He has crushed strikers like Poirier and Conor McGregor, as well as top wrestlers like Rafael dos Anjos.
This probably won’t be a fight where he gets on top of his opponent and pounds them into submission for five rounds, but it’s hard to see Gaethje doing enough to earn the victory unless he lands one huge shot.
Khabib has shown enough improvement on the feet to suggest he can survive against Gaethje – it’s worth remembering that he knocked McGregor down with a well-disguised right hand – and nobody has stopped him from getting regular takedowns yet.
In what should be the closest fight of his career, expect the champion to earn the victory on points.
Khabib to win by decision
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