Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will clash in the biggest fight of the year at the UFC 254 scheduled for this Saturday night. The Russian Eagle is defending his lightweight title and an unbeaten record. At the same time, the American wants to win the belt and complete his magnificent stretch that saw some impressive victories. These two are arguably the best fighters in the division, and their clash will be extremely interesting not only because of that but due to the complete opposite style of fight.
Khabib (-320) is on a mission. He is two wins short of reaching a 30-0 record, which is his goal. If Nurmagomedov achieves that, he will probably retire. But there is also one more thing. For the first time, Khabib didn’t prepare for one match without his father,
Abdulmanap, who passed away. This tragic situation has affected the Russian Eagle a lot.
But on the other side, we are more than positive that the current circumstances will fuel the champion and raise his motivation level to all-time heights.
Nurmagomedov’s CV is impressive, and the Russian conquered almost all the fighters that meant something in the lightweight division.
His style in the octagon is known to all, relentless wrestling and constant pressure on the rival, who will spend most of his time on his back on the ground. Fantastic grappling skills, and superior stamina are his signature, and so far, we haven’t seen any other fighter able to endure Khabib’s grip.
Gaethje (+270) earned this chance after demolishing Tony Ferguson, who was supposed to fight Khabib but the COVID-19 situation canceled that fight. Instead, the UFC organized the bout for the interim title, and Gaethje jumped in on the short notice.
And boy, did he stunned the world. We haven’t seen someone beat the title contender in any division for a long time. The Highlight was calm, focused, and very confident, trashing Ferguson all over the place. His jabs and hooks were obliterating the favorite in that event, up to the point that Ferguson started running away in the final phase of the fight.
Gaethje is on a four-match winning streak, and during that time, he defeated James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald Cerrone, all of them via first-round KO, displaying amazing improvement compared to his first few fights in the UFC.
The former WSOF lightweight champions would start his career in UFC with a 1-2 record, defeating Michael Johnson, before losing to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.
One thing is sure; this match won’t see all five rounds. Gaethje’s record in the UFC knows only about knockout when it comes to a method of winning or losing. We respect his power and stamina, but the American’s chances of winning the match will decrease as time goes by.
Khabib’s motivation is enormous here. It goes beyond sports, and that is one of the reasons why we give an edge to the Russian fighter. If he manages to take down Gaethje early on and wear him out, that would probably be an easy win for the champ.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.