After a stunning win over Tony Ferguson at the UFC 249, the entire MMA community is utterly excited to see Justin Gaethje as Khabib Nurmagomedov's new challenger.
Many are claiming that Gaethje is, in fact, the only one who can stop the Russian Eagle, and that “the Highlight,” as the fans call him, possesses all the needed resources to stop Khabib's reign.
He is young, a heavy puncher who knows how to take the hit also, and unlike Conor McGregor, for example, is much better on the canvas and knows how to defend takedowns. That is, he is meteorically improving in that aspect of fighting.
Now, even though we haven't heard any official stories about their matchup, many insiders from the UFC are suggesting that it would be just a matter of time before these guys who, by the way, share the same agent, sit down and start negotiating a deal. Gaethje is the interim champion of the lightweight division and the mandatory challenger, and there are no complications from that side, which could cause some problems.
All the best betting sites in NJ, as listed by OLBG.com, see Khabib as a heavy favorite. Odds on his win are 4/9, while on the other side, Gaethje sits at 7/4, with the draw at 50/1. Also, the bookies don't see this one going to the distance. Odds for seeing a winner via decision are 21/10, while on the other side, to witness a stoppage 5/13.
Knowing Gaethje, that is not likely going to happen, as he finishes most of his fights before the final bell, regardless of winning or losing. He saw the end of the battles just twice in his career, and we have to add that on both occasions, those were three-round bouts.
Since joining the UFC, he would always earn a bonus, wither for Fight of the Night, or Performance of the Night. Without any hesitation, we might say that Gaethje is the most entertaining fighter in the organization right now. After all, that is why he has the nickname “the Highlight.”
His triumph by a stoppage is 12/5, by a submission 33/1, while via decision 11/1. Early finish in the first round is 15/2, while in the second, it sits at 9/1. As time goes by, the prospects for Gaethje's win via stoppage are decreasing, in round 3 14/1, round 4 17/1, and round five, like against Ferguson, 22/1.
Nurmagomedov is 28-0, and it is quite possible that Gaethje might be the toughest opponent he ever had. Not only because of his tremendous punching power, and an extremely strong chin, but also due to his youth, and progress. Unlike any of the recent opponents the Russian had, Gaethje is still improving, and in each new fight he has, the fans see something new. Therefore, we could say that he could be a bit of a mystery for the champion.
But even with all that, the experts are suggesting that if Khabib gets into his rhythm, even the best possible performance of his rival won't be enough to stop him. Odds on his victory via submission are 13/5, via decision 11/4, and by a knockout 4/1. When looking at rounds, it is like this. First and second 6/1, third 15/2, fourth 11/1, and fifth 14/1.
Khabib is currently having problems back at home due to his father's bad condition caused by the COVID-19 virus. Right now, the elder Nurmagomedov is in the hospital where he had to undergo another heart surgery, not long after the previous one.
Khabib (see below) didn't want to reveal more information than that, and is waiting to see the outcome.
In the meantime, until we wait to see the next big thing in the lightweight division, we have one more event coming up – UFC Fight Night 176, as some say, which will feature the match between Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns.
The former champion, Woodley, is the favorite, 4/7, while Durinho stands at 6/4. Apart from these two guys, there is a battle between Blagoy Ivanov and Augusto Sakai. Ivanov is a slight favorite, 68/67, while Sakai's triumph is 10/11. Ladies will have the co-main event of the night, between Mackenzie Dern and Hannah Cifers. Dern's win is 3/10, and she is the ultimate favorite. On the other side, Cifer's success is set at 3/1.