UFC 254 Odds: Can Gaethje Beat Khabib?

UFC 254 Odds: Can Gaethje Beat Khabib?

UFC 254 is almost here. Can Gaethje be the one in 28-1? There are not many undefeated fighters in MMA, not elite ones anyway. If you look into the UFC's rankings, there's only one undefeated fighter in the pound for pound, and that's the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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No one gets -or stays- at the top without suffering a loss. Anderson Silva got two losses before hitting his prime. Georges Saint Pierre was surprised by Matt Serra and beaten by Matt Hughes, he avenged both losses, but he still had them. Jon Jones has one, via disqualification -and a bogus one-, but you get the point; keeping that 0 under the loss column is extremely hard.

Nurmagomedov is 28 fights into his career, and he has been flawless. In his whole career, he has only lost one round. That's dominance to the highest of levels. It's an insane stat. Who won the round against Khabib? Conor McGregor, and then he got submitted.

It's no surprise that he comes as a massive favorite for this fight. Nurmagomedov UFC 254 odds are -302 to retain his gold and take Gaethje's interim out of the equation.

But now, let's review the reason Nurmagomedov has been this flawless throughout his career, and, if possible, how would Gaethje be able to be the one in 28-1. Let's go!

What makes Khabib so dominant?

First, let's get out of the way the obvious. Khabib may be the best grappler in MMA history. His ground-and-pound is ferocious, his submission game is unidimensional but can't be stopped, and he can go for 15 rounds if it were necessary.

However, we've seen dominant grapplers before, with good ground game and strong base strikes. That's not new. Many will argue Khabib's fights look all the same. Or they will say Khabib is not a good striker, not a great one at least. And yes, that's partly true. He is not an elite stand up shooter, but don't mistake that, Khabib is good; ask McGregor.

Here's the thing, we've only seen two times where Khabib has been in somewhat of trouble. McGregor won a round against him, but no one was scared about something happening to the Eagle.

I'm talking about the Dustin Poirier unification fight. Poirier had two moments of pure rush for the fans. The first moment came in the second round when Poirier landed a good combination, and Khabib backpedaled until regaining his composure and evading the flurry. Not too dramatic, but he absorbed some damage there.

Then, in the third, Poirier locked a deep guillotine on Nurmagomedov. Somehow, he kept calm and collected, got out of it, and shortly after, he made Poirier tapped out.

Nurmagomedov stays so calm, like a robot, he is able to analyze how to get out of trouble, how to manage himself, and then he finds a way to reverse the situation. That's a huge part of his dominance.

The other is simple. He is relentless. If you know Khabib, his strategy is as simple as it can be, but very effective. Khabib will put pressure on his opponent, press him against the fence, change elevation, take you down, press your legs, ground-and-pound, turn you over, lock the rear-naked choke and get out of there.

So, why has no one beaten him if he is so predictable? Well, it is said that you don't have to fear a man with a thousand techniques, but the one who specialized one technique doing it a thousand times. That's Khabib.

He is so strong, he goes forward and has incredible cardio, so his opponents are overwhelmed until they collapse to the pressure. But now, many fighters and experts had stated that if someone can beat Khabib, the man is Justin 'The Highlight' Gaethje.

But why?

Can Gaethje pull the upset?

First things first, in MMA, anything can happen. It just takes one clean shot to change the course of a fight or end it. Gaethje has 19 KOs in 22 victories, he has got hammers for fists, and one can be enough to create significant damage. Gaethje UFC 254 odds are +232.

But many powerful foes have fallen to Khabib. Gaethje has an All-American wrestling background, that's the key.

You may not recall a fight where Gaethje used his wrestling to impose his will. That's because he doesn't use it. He fell in love with his hands. That doesn't mean, however, that he is not an elite grappler.

Against Khabib, he will have to show it. Gaethje can work from his backside. He can punch, elbow, and transition, all while being in his back. He has somewhat of a favorable matchup. At the end of the day, if you want to beat Khabib, the likelihood is you have to beat him on his game.

Yes, Gaethje can pull the upset. No, it's not going to be an easy task. If you think he can win, place your bet on Betmania right now! Also, if you feel like Khabib will unify and be once again the undisputed 155-pound champion, you'll find his odds as well.