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UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje Main Event Odds and Betting Picks

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UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje Main Event Odds and Betting Picks
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a jam-packed schedule and this Saturday we are getting what should be a very entertaining lightweight unification fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 11:59 PM EDT at UFC Fight Island

In the main event of the evening, Khabib Nurmagomedov battles Justin Gaethje. UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje takes place at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. There will not be fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With plenty of betting lines and markets currently available, let’s attempt to find some value for our UFC picks on Saturday’s main event.

Khabib Nurmagomedov. Isaac Brekken/Getty Images/AFP

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

Born in the village of Sildi in Tsumadinsky District in modern Dagestan, Russia, Khabib Nurmagomedov started wrestling when he was six years old. As a teenager he also trained in Judo and Combat Sambo.

Khabib Nurmagomedov made his MMA debut in 2008 and he had a perfect 16-0 record across different promotions in Russia and Ukraine before signing with the UFC in 2011. Khabib is one of the most dominant forces in MMA history. He is a complete fighter who has UFC wins against Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier. In his last fight, he submitted Poirier in the third round at UFC 242 on September 7th, 2019.

  • Born: September 20th, 1988
  • Age: 32
  • Country: Russia
  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Reach: 70″
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Association: Fight Spirit Team and American Kickboxing Academy
  • Class: Lightweight
  • Record: 28-0

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
8 wins by KO/TKO4.11 Landed47% Accuracy
10 wins by Submission1.65 Absorbed84% Defended
10 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Two-time Combat Sambo World champion
  • Elite grappling offense
  • Holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA
  • Current UFC lightweight champion

Octagon Weaknesses

  • His emotional state after losing his father recently

Justin Gaethje (L) of the United States. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP

Justin Gaethje

Introduction, Background and UFC Career

Justin Gaethje started wrestling with his twin brother as four-year-olds in Safford, Arizona. Gaethje is a two-time Arizona State champion as a wrestler at Safford High School before choosing Northern Colorado, where he earned the first Division I All-American honors in the program's history. Gaethje's interest in MMA began when fighters trained with his wrestling team on campus at Northern Colorado. "The Highlight" started taking amateur fights during summers, winning seven times to earn his nickname.

The interim UFC lightweight champion surprised many when he stepped in for Nurmagomedov on late notice to knock out Tony Ferguson in the fifth round at UFC 249 on May 9th. Gaethje is a former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champion. He defended the belt six times before signing with the UFC.

The 31-year-old is 5-2 in the UFC, winning his last four fights. The 7.74 significant strikes he lands per minute are a UFC record. Gaethje seemed more patient and precise against Ferguson and those are two of the qualities he needs against Khabib.

Born: November 14th, 1988
Age: 31
Country: United States
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 155 lbs
Reach: 70″
Stance: Orthodox
Association: Genesis Training Center
Class: Lightweight
Record: 22-2

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
19 wins by KO/TKO7.74 Landed0% Accuracy
1 win by Submission8.37 Absorbed80% Defended
2 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Two-time Arizona State champion as a wrestler at Safford High School
  • First Division I All-American honors in Northern Colorado's history
  • Former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight champion
  • Lands a record 7.74 significant strikes per minute

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Absorbs too many significant strikes per minute

Prediction

Khabib's father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, passed away in a hospital in Moscow on July 3rd. Both were very close and it will obviously be a very emotional night for Khabib as he enters his first fight without his dad. I'm sure that Khabib will be ready but grief is different for everyone and it can be an X-factor.

Gaethje has to be more patient and keep the fight from going to the ground. His takedown defense will make or break his chances. These are of two of my favorite fighters right now but I have to side with Khabib for my UFC picks. I just haven't seen anything from Khabib that makes me doubt him.

My Pick: Khabib to win inside the distance -115 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Khabib ITD-115
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