Khabib vs. Gaethje Preview
Khabib Nurmagomedov has entered the ring 28 times in his professional MMA career, and each time has ended with is hand raised in the middle.
Now, ahead of Saturday’s UFC 254 main event against Justin Gaethje, the unbeaten Russian is a massive favorite to come away with his 29th straight win. But, despite the odds and undefeated record, more bettors are backing Gaethje than the lightweight champion.
Khabib is known as one of the best, if not the best, wrestlers in UFC history. He’s relentless in his pressure he puts on opponents, which often leads to submission victories.
10 of his 28 victories have come via submission, including his last two against Dustin Poirier and Connor McGregor.
The key for Khabib will be to make sure he sticks to his gameplan and doesn’t try to trade strikes with Gaethje, who is the much more effective and powerful puncher.
One of the reasons some expect Gaethje to give Khabib issues is his wrestling background.
Gaethje isn’t known to do much wrestling in the octagon, instead using his punching power to finish fights, but he has an extensive wrestling background.
Gaethje is a former Division I All-American wrestler at University of Northern Colorado. That wrestling background, especially his defensive wrestling prowess, may give him a shot to hold off Nurmagomedov long enough to land a knockout blow.
Gaethje is 22-2 and currently the interim UFC lightweight champion.
Khabib vs. Gaethje Betting Breakdown
As of Saturday morning, oddsmakers aren’t giving Gaethje much of a shot to pull off the upset against the unbeaten Russian. Khabib’s best odds of -313 imply a 75.8% probability he makes it 29 straight victories on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Gaethje sits at +280, meaning the oddsmakers are giving him just a 26.3% chance of pulling off the upset.
Despite the overwhelming odds, the majority of the betting public has been backing the underdog. In the past 48 hours leading up to the fight, 51.33% of bettors are behind Gaethje to win outright. 48.67% are on Khabib.
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