Khabib vs. Gaethje: Bets and Sportsbook Odds on the UFC 254 Main Event

The upcoming fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will be the main event of UFC 254. The fight will be held on October 24th on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The start time for the main event is set at 2:00 PM EST, despite UFC President Dana White hinting that the fight might take place a little later. 

Sportsbooks have been eagerly awaiting the massive event, preparing a wide variety of lines for the fight. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Russian fighter is the favorite going into the fight. 

An unexpected twist was added to the fight when White stated that if Khabib is to win this fight against Gaethje, the Russian fighter will once again be squared up against Tony Ferguson. UFC fans can only hope that this time the long-awaited matchup will finally come to fruition. 

Sportsbook Odds for Khabib vs. Gaethje

Sportsbooks in the United States have already given the status of clear favorite to the Russian Khabib. This is expected and certainly nothing new as it would be difficult to remember a time when Khabib was not listed as the favorite for one of his fights. The odds gap between the two fighters is considerable. 

Khabib vs. Gaethje Fight Analysis

Even before analyzing the surrounding statistics of this fight, it is becoming increasingly clear that the fight is unlikely to last all five rounds. Khabib is the best wrestler in the division, and is currently in the prime of his career. Both fighters will do their best to deny the judges the opportunity to decide the fight’s outcome. 

Both fighters are also currently experiencing good runs of form. Khabib will enter the fight coming off the success of two straight wins, while Gaethje enters having won his last four fights, most notably his thrashing of Tony Ferguson in UFC 249.

Taking into consideration the fact that both fighters have the tendency to end their fights with finishing moves, we can assume three probable outcomes for how the fight will end:

  • Knockout
  • TKO
  • Disqualification of one of the fighters

Statistics and Measurements

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Justin Gaethje
5'8 Height5'9
154 lbs.Weight154 lbs.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

The reigning UFC lightweight champion. Top wrestler, grappler and undefeated fighter in the UFC. 

  • 28 fights, 28 wins, 0 losses

Over the past few months, there has been a noticeable rise in confrontation between Khabib’s fans and his critics. The Russian fighter has been accused of deliberately refusing to fight with Tony Ferguson. The accusation holds some ground, as Ferguson was widely expected to be the most dangerous opponent for the undefeated fighter. 

However, the what and what not of the previous fight have, for now, become irrelevant: Khabib is now scheduled to meet with Gaethje in the Octagon. Despite the fact that Dana White agreed with Khabib to postpone the meeting from taking place in the Summer to instead being held in Autumn, further negotiations are not expected to take place.

There is nowhere left for Khabib to run, without damaging his image even further.  

Nurmagomedov demonstrated adequate boxing skills in his fight with Conor McGregor, however became much more cautious and hesitant after missing several punches. The same situation was witnessed in Khabib's fight with Dustin Poirier. It is thus noteworthy when analyzing this fight to mention that neither McGregor nor Poirier have the same punching power and resilience that Gaethje has demonstrated.

Khabib will once again need to use his strength to control the fight and push the American into the corner of the cage. If we take into account the strength of Gaethje, then we speculate that the Russian has a maximum of about two rounds to achieve this. Justin will not fear Khabib’s passes or the jabs that come his way.

He will trade blows and look for an opportunity to deliver devastating blows that can shake the Russian fighter. Nevertheless, Nurmagomedov still has the speed and endurance. With the Russian in his prime, he will look to end the fight with a classic choke in the beginning rounds.  

Khabib’s Current Form

Since we know that Khabib is to this day an undefeated fighter, we know that no matter which five fights we look at, they will all show a capital ‘V’ for Nurmagomedov. Looking at the Russian’s previous five fights, we do not find any unique dynamics between them. Khabib finished the tactical matchups while making the promise to put a stop to Gaethje.

Justin Gaethje 

Multiple UFC Performance of the Night award winner. The current interim lightweight champion.

  • 24 fights, 22 wins, 2 losses

Strong as an anvil and as straightforward as it gets. Despite not having the gangster image attached to him like fellow fighters Diaz and Masvidal, Gathje has gained the reputation as a “bad-boy knockout” who is not afraid to miss punches and is ready to sacrifice his health to win. 

In the review of his last fight, we discussed the fact that Gaethje does not have a pronounced signature fighting style. However, in the fight against Ferguson, he appeared to be a first-class boxer by UFC standards. The speed and frequency with which Gaethje released his blows was almost difficult to believe for fans. 

The gaps in Gaethje’s defense are made up for by his precision, speed and strength, and Ferguson’s cracked skull is proof of that. This will serve as Justin’s main advantage in the fight, as it is unlikely that Khabib will be able to withstand the same number of blows that Tony suffered. However, he will also likely not be afforded as many opportunities to deliver these blows.

If Khabib is able to successfully wear down Gaethje, the speed of his punches can be drastically reduced. We predict that Gaethje will not waste time in the first few rounds, and will instead immediately try to gain the upper hand on his opponent. Meanwhile, Khabib never immediately throws himself at an opponent, instead allowing distance in an effort to evaluate the opponent’s movement. 

In conclusion, despite the sportsbook odds, Gaethje can truly become the first fighter who, if not knocking out Khabib, inflicts the first great deal of damage to the Russian. There is no doubt in the minds of UFC fans that this is shaping up to be a fight that was worth the long wait. 

Gaethje’s Previous Fights

Unlike his upcoming opponent, none of Justin’s previous five fights have ended on points. Gaethje in this role is the classic version of a ‘Win or Die’ fighter. Over the entire specified period, Gaethje has lost only once, in 2018, by a knockout in the fourth round to Dustin Poirier.

Afterwhich, he rebooted its career by knocking out the next four fighters. The most difficult opponent for him was Ferguson, a meeting which lasted all five rounds. Barbosa, Cerrone and Wick were already defeated in the first five minutes.

Gaethje vs. Khabib FAQ

When will the fight between Khabib vs Gaethje take place?

The fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will take place on October 24th, at 2:00 PM EST. 

Who will win: Justin Gaethje or Khabib Nurmagomedov?

MMA fighters and analysts believe that despite Gaethje’s wrestling background, Khabib will still win the fight due to intense pressure and technique. 

What are the odds for Khabib and Gaethje?  

Sportsbooks in the United States are unanimously giving the favorite status to Khabib with the highest odds reaching -275. Justin Gaethje will come into the fight with a desire to prove himself the true champions, with sportsbook odds reaching the heights of +230 on the American. 

Does Gaethje have a chance against Khabib?

Yes, however, in order to hit Khabib Justin will need to take risks and move Khabib to the ground. This must be done or Gaethje will need to successfully defend himself and try and wear out Khabib in the first two rounds.