The main card is one of the best betting events in last few years. All the fights are damn near even money, which makes it perfect for anyone who can pick winners. That being said, it’s all about the main event in Philadelphia.
Two of the most feared fighters of the lightweight division square off on Saturday when Justin Gaethje (19-2) takes on Edson Barboza (20-6). Gaethje enters this contest as the slight underdog, with most sportsbooks placing (+115) odds on a Gaethje win. Barboza is a narrow favorite at (-125).
Barboza returns to the octagon just three months after his TKO victory over Dan Hooker. Known for his leg kicks, Barboza is the only fighter in UFC history to end two fights with kicks to the legs. Barboza is considered one of the most technical strikers in the lightweight division, and is capable of chopping down any opponent in front of him.
Gaethje enters this main event as the underdog. Gaethje has lost two of his last three fights, but is coming off of a huge first round knockout win over the up-and-coming James Vick, back in August of 2018. Despite his collegiate wrestling background, Gaethje rarely takes the fight to the mat. Instead, Gaethje prefers to stand and bang, with just one of his 21 professional fights being decided by the judges.
Bettors should be considering a number of variables heading into Saturday’s main event. One pick that should be on your betting slip is choosing this fight to end by KO or TKO. Gaethje by KO/TKO is +170 or Barboza by KO/TKO is +135. Both of these fighters are known to walk forward, bringing the fight to their opponent. Barboza has seven knockouts at lightweight, tied for the most out of any lightweight fighter in UFC history. Gaethje rarely takes his bouts to decision either, with 16 of his 19 wins coming by the way of knockout. In fact, Gaethje has yet to go to the judges scorecards since joining the UFC, and Saturday night will likely be no different.
The main event slot of the card indicates that these fighters will be going for five rounds, increasing the chance of one of these strikers to be knocked out.
You can’t really call yourself a gambler if you don’t bet on fights like this.
There is nothing safe about it.
This is a straight up firefight, pick your man and hang on tight.
I predict an all-out war that sees both fighters land significant damage. Look for the technical Barboza to pick Gaethje apart, using leg kicks and quick hands to wear down his opponent. It’s certainly a close call, but Gaethje’s style of big chin/no defense leads me to taking Barboza by KO.
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