Khabib vs. Gaethje Betting Preview – Opening Odds Favor Khabib

| July 29, 2020 3:04 am PST
Khabib vs. Gaethje Betting Prediction 2020

Khabib vs. Gaethje. October 24. UFC 254. Cancel all plans, or run the risk of missing out on what could genuinely be one of the greatest fights of all time.

Where does it happen? Well… that hasn’t been decided yet. But what we do know is that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will fight it out for the unified UFC lightweight championship in a potentially historic fight.

And in terms of big deals, this is about as good as it gets, folks. The two premier lightweights on the planets battling it for supremacy. So, if you’re keen to find the best odds for the Khabib vs. Gaethje fight, feel free to peruse a few of these UFC betting sites

Now, some have questions regarding how Khabib, who enters this fight following the tragic passing of his father and martial arts legend Abdulmanap, will perform. Could we see a different fighter in there on October 24? I would hate for my words to be treated as distasteful, but it is a valid question.

And when you consider that Gaethje has long been regarded as one of just two men in the division who could beat Nurmagomedov (the other being Tony Ferguson), it would be wise to think hard about this one.

So join me as I take a look at the odds for Khabib vs. Gaethje, some of the best bets for the fight, and finish with my analysis for the fight of the year. 

But first, let’s start with my pick. 

Khabib vs. Gaethje – Who Wins?

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov to Win by Submission

A bold call? Sure, but I have my reasons.

Fights like these don’t come around very often. Therefore, there is a lot to all about. So strap yourself in, because this is going to get very deep.

We’ll get into my reasons for backing “The Eagle.” First, let’s take a look at the opening odds for Khabib vs. Gaethje.

Latest Khabib vs. Gaethje Odds

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov to Win -250
  • Justin Gaethje to Win +195

Khabib’s odds to beat Gaethje come in at -250 with Bovada, with Gaethje a considerable underdog at +195. 

First impressions? Well, it’s hard to find any fighter on the planet that is going to get close to “The Eagle” on the moneyline. The Dagestani legend is the greatest lightweight of all time, and has won all 28 fights he has competed in since 2008.

Even more impressive is the fact that he has only ever lost one round in his career, against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in 2018, and that was… questionable. Put simply, the man is a machine, and it no surprise to see him enter as the clear favorite for the 10th time in 12 UFC fights.

FYI, he was the dog in his first two fights, and the bookies seemingly learned a valuable lesson after that.

Gaethje is a former WSOF lightweight champion that entered the UFC with a perfect record of 18-0. Back to back stoppage losses against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier seemed to derail his hype train, but he bounced back with three consecutive first-round knockouts to establish himself as a true contender.

Then, at UFC 249 in May, Gaethje stepped in for Khabib, as an underdog, against Tony Ferguson in the most cursed fight in UFC history. The winner would get a shot at the title. Not only did Gaethje hand Ferguson his first loss in almost seven years, but he completely battered the perennial contender to a 5th round TKO finish.

Gaethje is the underdog, and that’s how he will like it. Some of us betting on Khabib vs. Gaethje might also appreciate those odds. More on that…

Khabib vs. Gaethje Best Bets

I’m going to explain why I consider the four bets below as the ones to target ahead of the fight.

The Khabib vs. Gaethje prop bets have not yet been released, so I can’t confirm what the odds are for the final two bets. What I can tell you is that the odds will be more than worth it, especially if you consider that there will be plenty of money put on Gaethje ahead of this fight.

Khabib to Win -250

Why? Well, he is 28-0 and has basically made the vast majority of his opponents look like amateurs in the process.

Khabib just might go down in history as the most unbeatable fighter in the history of the promotion. The only fighter that can claim such an accolade is Jon Jones, and he has a few questionable wins on his record.

This man is the favorite for a reason.

Gaethje to Win +195

In hot form right now, it would be nothing short of stupid to write Gaethje off in this fight.

In some ways, you might even give him more of a chance of beating Khabib than he would have had just a couple of months ago. Not only is he on a four-fight winning streak with all ending by stoppage, but he is coming off a dominant performance over a true legend in Tony Ferguson.

He has the momentum, while Khabib is coming off the loss of his beloved father and a lengthy layoff.

Khabib to Win by Submission (N/A)

Khabib averages one submission win for every three fights in the UFC. 

He has back to back submission wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, handing “The Diamond” his first submission loss in seven years and just the second of his 33 fight career. 

Gaethje’s wrestling is incredible, even if it hasn’t been exhibited much. But Khabib will hunt takedowns, and all it takes is one successful transition to put pressure on Gaethje and potentially add him to his list of victims.

Gaethje to Win by KO/TKO (N/A)

Khabib is hittable. Just ask lightweight gatekeeper Michael Johnson, who shook the Russian on this feet back in 2017. 

Dustin Poirier came close to causing him big trouble, while a couple of other fighters have landed on the champ. With a guy like Gaethje – who showed absolutely incredible accuracy and power against Tony Ferguson in his last fight – this could spell trouble.

If Gaethje connects a bomb on Khabib’s chin, we could see something absolutely unprecedented playout on October 14 – a loss for Khabib.

Will Gaethje beat Khabib? It’s very possible. But I’m giving the champ the edge in this fight. I’ll into that in a minute, but let’s cover something very important first.

Will Khabib’s Mindset Affect His Performance?

This is a very smart question for anyone betting on Khabib vs. Gaethje.

This fight is going to be absolutely insane. Not only do we have two incredibly well-matched opponents, but it could also very well be the last time Khabib Nurmagomedov competes. 

And while that is a thought that many of us don’t want to entertain, doesn’t Justin Gaethje deserve to be in the reckoning to take over this division? I mean, the guy is a classy operator who has one of the most dangerous skillsets in MMA. 

The magnitude of the event is enough to make either guy question themselves. With that clear, there will also be a very sentimental side to this contest. I’ve mentioned it a few times above, but Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, recently passed away.

Khabib’s father was the most important person in his life, and his loss will be a huge blow to the champ. There is no way to predict how he will respond to his father’s passing, and the idea of it affecting his performance cannot be discounted.

But if we know anything about Khabib, it is that he is exceptionally mentally strong. And I expect he will want to make his father proud regardless of his presence in this world or the one we cannot see. 

With that, I anticipate a big response from Dagestan’s unofficial king. He will be doing this for his father, there is no question about that. Still, it’s not going to be easy for him, as this will be a closer fight than many would have you believe.

Why Khabib Beats Gaethje

While this is one of the hardest fights to call in the sport of MMA, I actually think how the fight ends is arguably more straightforward than who comes out on top. A submission for Khabib or a KO/TKO for Gaethje

Yes, Gaethje is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler. That’s the elite of the elite, for those of you unfamiliar with collegiate sports in the States. But despite having this awesome weaponry in his arsenal, we have seldom seen it used in the UFC.

The main reason for this? Well, the guy has stupid power. And that ridiculous stoppage power has earned him 19 KO/TKOs from 22 wins. But there is another reason for Gaethje shunning his wrestling. Just like former Olympian Yoel Romero, “The Highlight” finds it to drain his gas tank at a rate that is not conducive to a fight that could go to the championship rounds. 

Therefore, Gaethje will more than likely rely on his striking to create situations that swing the fight his way. If he can chop at the legs of Khabib with those killer low kicks, this not only slows the champion down, but it keeps him at a very hittable distance. Think of it like hunting a deer with a limp – it’s going to make things so much easier, right?

One of the main risks of throwing too many kicks against Khabib is that you are potentially running the risk of the champ timing that kick and taking advantage of your compromised balance. Yes, Gaethje will back himself if taken down, but how many times is he willing to have Khabib smother him within the first few rounds?

I truly believe that Gaethje will look to blitz his opponent from the first bell, and try to knock him out early. And while this is certainly a possibility, if I anticipate this, you can bet your last tooth that the champion will.

Khabib’s Incredibly Effective Style

Nurmagomedov has been in there with some of the best strikers in the UFC. Edson Barboza, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Rafael dos Anjos found no way of stopping him. Now, to most MMA fans, his striking is pretty average.

But aside from a few big shots that were well absorbed, what striker has been able to come along and expose him on the feet. He dropped McGregor in their fight. Remember that?

But why? Did it have something to do with the Irishman turning gun shy at range, as his body was stiffened in anticipation of the takedown? Or is his striking – while not being remotely comprehensive or flashy – a little better than we give him credit for?

It’s a combination of those two factors, as well as a few others. Nurmagomedov knows he can use the threat of takedowns to open up striking opportunities. But don’t expect him to stand and bang with Gaethje.

What he will do, however, is give the impression that he is open to a game of striking ping pong before taking you down as you try and counter him. This style could backfire against a guy like Gaethje, but it might also be the key to winning this fight.

Gaethje has an absolute savant of a trainer in Justin Whittman, and they will undoubtedly have a plan to counter Khabib’s relentless takedowns. Gaethje’s wrestling technique will come in hugely handy here, but if he lets his ego get the better of him – and gets caught up in exchanges on the floor with Nurmagomedov – I think the champ will gas him out.

Khabib is the ultimate mixed martial artist in the sense that he is the most effective guy on the roster. Love him or hate him, he always seems to get it right. And I see him outsmarting Gaethje on the night, draining that gas tank, and locking in for a rear-naked choke at some point in the fourth round.

And That’s a Wrap

I’ll take odds on Khabib to beat Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24. The method of victory? A submission for the warrior from Dagestan, who will add the 29th win of his career to his resume. 

This is a real tough one to predict, but if you would have bet against the champ in all of his previous 28 bouts, you would have lost every single time. I’m not saying he cannot be beaten – or that he has some divine right to win based on his former achievements – but I do believe he has a style that is as near to indomitable as we will ever see in this sport. 

I’ll be back with more Khabib vs. Gaethje news, odds, and bets soon. We will also have a dedicated UFC 254 betting guide to get your teeth stuck into. But if you can’t wait that long, go and get your hands on the latest odds and bets for other upcoming UFC fights. 

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA and boxing.

A self-confessed sports fanatic, when Adam is not watching and writing about rugby, soccer, Gaelic Games, and F1, he can often be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a big fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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