Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje: Who has the edge at UFC 254?

On Saturday, October 24, the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi for another night of action. The main event of UFC 254 is scheduled to be UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje.

Who will walk out of “Fight Island” the ultimate winner? Let’s break it all down, shall we?

Khabib (28-0) has a 47% takedown accuracy rate compared to Gaethje’s (22-2) 0.0% TDA rate. The former also holds the record for most takedowns in a single UFC fight at 21. However, when looking at striking, Khabib is landing 4.1 Significant Strikes Landed per Minute. Gaethje is throwing 7.74 and has a 59% accuracy rate, compared to Khabib’s 49%.

Speaking of takedowns and strikes, Khabib has won two fights in a row via submission, while Gaethje, on a four-fight win streak, has won all of the bouts via some form of knockout. In total, Gaethje has 19 wins via knockout while Khabib has eight via KO and ten via submission. Gaethje has shown he can consistently strike his opponent at any given point. Don’t believe that? Just ask Tony Ferguson.

Several of the KO/TKO wins by Khabib have come on the ground. His presence terrifying those who end up on the floor, his physical and mental advantage is otherworldly.

Lets’s look at the odds now, shall we? Via Sportsline, William Hill states that Nurmagomedov is the -330 favorite over Gaethje (+270). Additionally, Bet365 (via BestFightOdds.com) has Nurmagomedov as the -357 favorite compared to Gaethje’s +257 underdog status. Rotowire has Khabib at a consistent -350/-375 favorite. None of this has changed, even after Khabib’s interesting weigh-in earlier.

The champion made weight for the fight but appeared to be struggling to get to the scale. Gaethje, meanwhile, appeared to have no issues on the scale. Take that for what you will, but there could be a significant change in the lines comes fight night if more information comes out.

According to Dana White, the whole world will be watching the fight between two warriors. Will Khabib get the win for his father, or will Gaethje look to change the history books?

Only one man can call himself undisputed in this “Fight Island” affair.

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