In one of the most anticipated bouts of the year, champion Khabib Nurmangomedov will take on #1 Justin Gaethje in a lightweight fight that will serve as the main event for UFC 254, live from Fight Island this Saturday and available on pay-per-view through ESPN+.
The only title bout of the entire event, Khabib will enter with a spotless 28-0 record. 12 of those victories have come at the UFC level. Having defended his title three times already, Khabib has already defeated #2 Dustin Poirier, #4 Conor McGregor and #9 Al laquinta in the past few years.
Having won two of the three via submission, Khabib is an ultra-confident grappler, averaging 5.35 takedowns per 15 minutes. He’s also been a dominant striker as well, landing 4.11 significant strikes per minute on 49 percent accuracy. He absorbs 1.65 and defends 67 percent of strikes. He’s everything you want in a fighter in the prime of his career at age 32, and will open as the strong favorite. He sits #2 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.
The interim champion Gaethje, is 22-2 career and on a four-fight win streak. He’s most recently taken down #3 Tony Ferguson to get this opportunity. Despite his background as a Division I wrestler at Northern Colorado, Gaethje is a strike-heavy fighter with 7.74 significant strikes per minute, landing 59 percent of them. He’ll want to do a better job of defending against Khabib as he had just a 54 percent block rate, absorbing 8.37 significant strikes per minute.
The plus is that if he can connect on a few early strikes he may have a chance. This is a tough fight to bet as Khabib is the clear favorite, and the moneyline reflects it.
Here are the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24th.
Money line odds
Khabib Nurmagomedov: -335
Justin Gaethje: +260
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