UFC Odds: Is Justin Gaethje the Real Ultimate Fighter?

Is Justin Gaethje the Real Ultimate Fighter?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 6:51 PM GMT

Justin Gaethje has yet to set foot in the Octagon, but he’s already in the main event for Friday’s TUF Finale. Does he belong in our UFC picks or is Michael Johnson the man?

Something strange is happening. Justin Gaethje, the WSOF Lightweight champion since 2014, is about to make his Octagon debut this Friday (10 p.m. ET, FS1) at the finale for The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption. And Gaethje is going straight into the main event against Michael Johnson, who was No. 6 on the UFC Lightweight rankings as recently as last November. Seems a bit much, right?

The betting public thinks so. Gaethje opened Tuesday morning at -240 on the UFC odds board, then was quickly bet all the way down to +144. We hope you were able to take advantage of this giant swing and grab some of that sweet, sweet arbitrage. If not, this might be a lovely spot to take a chance on the newcomer. Gaethje is undefeated, after all, and Johnson has lost three of his last four fights.
 

Wrestling Matters

The WSOF may not get much play in the combat sports media, but Gaethje – who vacated his title upon signing with the UFC – is the real deal. He was an All-American wrestler at the University of Northern Colorado, where he dabbled in MMA (as an amateur, as per NCAA regulations) and won all seven of his matches. In his 2011 pro debut, Gaethje picked up Kevin Croom and slammed him to the mat, knocking him out in 61 seconds. That was the first of 17 straight wins for the Arizona native, including five WSOF title defenses.

Johnson (17-11 lifetime, 9-5 UFC) was the XCF Lightweight champion and a former MFL champ before stepping into the Octagon in 2010. Three years later, he found his stride, working his way up the ladder with victories over Joe Lauzon (-340) and Gleison Tibau (-155). Then the winning continued – until Johnson dropped a controversial split decision to Beneil Dariush (+110) two years ago.
 

Ruthless Aggression

It’s been a mixed bag for Johnson ever since. He couldn’t keep up with the returning Nate Diaz (+237), and he was in over his head against Khabib Nurmagomedov (-345) last November. But in between, Johnson did earn an impressive first-round knockout of Dustin Poirier (-195) in the main event of Fight Night 94.

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#TUF25Finale is violence guaranteed - Gaethje, Johnson and Diakiese 😳I wouldn't let the kids watch this one  pic.twitter.com/TMwfMGSQqU

— Jim Edwards (@MMA_Jim) July 4, 2017
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Johnson could end up knocking out Gaethje, too. The underdog fights like a bull in a china shop, so if Johnson can withstand the early punishment and find an opening, look out below. But we’ll happily recommend Gaethje for your UFC picks at this price. Maybe his odds will get even longer by the time you read this. Good hunting.

Free UFC Pick: Gaethje +145Best Line Offered: WagerWeb

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