Well, it appears the long-awaited super-fight between Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov and Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson, the cursed fight, is going to elude fight fans after Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje stopped Ferguson via fifth-round knockout at UFC 249 to claim the interim lightweight title.
Now, Nurmagomedov and Gaethje are set to crown the true lightweight champion on October 24 in the main event for UFC 254.
Online sportsbook Bodog has listed the current champion, Nurmagomedov, as a -335 favorite with the challenger and interim champion, Gaethje, coming back as a +255 underdog.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje Odds
Odds as of October 20 at Bodog
Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje Odds Analysis
Well, it probably should come as no surprise that the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Nurmagomedov, is the betting favorite in this fight. In fact, the Dagestan product has had a minus sign next to his betting odds in 10 straight fights, each of which he won as he carries a perfect 28-0 record. That said, the -335 line represents the fifth-shortest odds over The Eagle’s last 10 bouts.
Much like it seems obvious that Khabib is the favorite, Gaethje has been an underdog in five of his seven UFC fights and has a record of 5-2 in those bouts. Additionally, with the Arizona native’s knockout win over Ferguson at UFC 249, The Highlight now has nine performance bonuses in seven UFC bouts. A $100 bet on each of Gaethje’s fights in the UFC would have earned you a profit of $392.10. Is he worth a shot in this bout?
How Will This Fight Play Out?
Nurmagomedov is perhaps the best wrestler in the UFC, averaging 5.35 takedowns per 15 minutes, and has landed multiple takedowns in each of his last nine bouts in the Octagon. On the canvas, The Eagle rains down relentless ground and pound that makes his opponents wilt under his pressure and end up losing by submission or TKO rather than endure more punishment. Khabib is more vulnerable in striking exchanges as he has been hit hard by some foes, but it’s an area he seems to improve in each time we see him.
Justin Gaethje is violence personified. Some fighters will claim that they’re not afraid of anything and will stand in the middle of the cage and throw hands; then there are guys like Gaethje who actually go out and do it. All you have to do is look at The Highlight’s record – 22-2, 19 wins by knockout, one by submission, his only two losses also knockouts. Gaethje has outstanding striking with powerful leg kicks and sharp boxing. However, an underrated part of his game is his wrestling, which he never uses, though it’s in his back pocket.
This fight could be a clear-cut dominant victory for Nurmagomedov as he drags Gaethje to the floor over and over again, tires him out and wins a decision. Or, The Highlight stuffs The Eagle’s takedowns and this fight instantly becomes a lot more uncertain and I’m sure the momentum swings dramatically in favor of Gaethje. I think the odds are set correctly because of the unknown, very similar to the McGregor fight.