Can Gaethje be the first to defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov?

UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje takes place on Saturday 24th October 2020 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and sees undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) facing off against Justin Gaethje (22-2) in one of the most anticipated fights in recent history.

Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has only fought once, defeating Dustin Poirier via Rear Naked Choke in the 3rd round, since defeating Conor McGregor back in October 2018 and since then the Dagestani man has been dealing with the loss of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov due to complications after contracting Covid-19.

Interim UFC Lightweight Championship Justin Gaethje is riding a 4 fight win streak with victories over Tony Ferguson in a interim lightweight championship bout, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and James Vick all inside the distance, since back to back losses to Eddie Alvarez back in December 2017 and then Dustin Poirier back in April 2018

Although Gaethje is known for his stand up prowess, he was a NCAA Division I All-American wrestler back in his college days and will need all that experience if he is to keep the fight with Khabib on the feet for long periods.

Khabib’s probable game plan is no secret, he will likely look for takedowns and heavy top control on the ground early and often in the fight, hoping to take the pop and power out of Gaethje’s strikes on the feet if the fight goes into the later rounds.

It’s been a long time since we have seen an opponent manage to keep Khabib’s take downs and top pressure on the ground at bay throughout the fight and it could be argued that Khabib is a different fighter since this was achieved by Gleison Tibau back in 2012 in only Khabib’s second UFC outing, a fight which many thought at that the time should have gone to Tibau.

The line for the lightweight title fight opened with Khabib slightly shorter than 1/2 and Gaethje a little better than 2/1. The early action moved the odds in favor of the champ, who is now roughly 2/7 with Gaethje coming back at 5/2. These odds with and a whole host of betting sites, listed in a top 5 order for you convenience is a great place to start prior to betting on UFC 254. The odds for the co-main between Whittaker and Cannonier are much narrower. Cannonier opened around 2/3, but now it’s basically a pick’em fight across the board.

It’s hard to look past Nurmagomedov when considering who to back in the UFC 258 main event at the SportsBooks but if Gaethje can show the wrestling pedigree he has been holding in reserve while standing and striking with his opponents in his UFC run and stuff Khabib’s early take down attempts then his advantage on the feet could prove to be his route to success over the undefeated champion

Severe MMA Staff

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