In one of the most anticipated fights of the year, undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will take on interim champion Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 this Saturday. The card will be live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and available on pay-per-view via ESPN+ beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Khabib enters this fight as the strong favorite, rightfully so with his career 28-0 MMA record. The Russian-born fighter has cemented himself as an international superstar. A master on the ground, Nurmagomedov averages 5.35 takedowns per 15 minutes and submitted his last two opponents in Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. 12-0 in a UFC octagon, he is also an ultra-aggressive striker landing 4.11 significant strikes per minute while absorbing only 1.65.
He’ll need to be ready for a strike-heavy fight as he’s matched up Justin Gaethje, one of the most aggressive strikers in UFC.
Gaethje holds a 22-2 MMA record, winning his last four bouts. He became the interim champion with a win over Tony Ferguson in May, and averages 7.74 significant strikes per minute in a UFC cage. “The Highlight” showed his usual durability against Ferguson, absorbing 136 significant strikes. He takes 8.37 per minute as well, and despite his Division I wrestling background, he’s yet to complete a takedown in the UFC, and has an 80 percent takedown defense mark.
He’ll have to be prepared for whatever style Khabib chooses, and in terms of matchup this will be one of the toughest opponents he has faced.
Here are the betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24th.
Khabib Nurmagomedov: -335, (67% of action, 68% of bets)
Justin Gaethje: +270, (33% of action, 32% of bets)
Winning method splits
Here are the splits for the method of victory at DraftKings Sportsbook for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24th:
Khabib Nurmagomedov: $9,200
Justin Gaethje: $7,000
Given how many strikes he lands and his average fight time being just over ten minutes even in a loss, Gaethje should be able to score some points. For the moneyline, it seems tough to even bet against an undefeated superstar like Khabib.
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