It’s time for the top Khabib vs. Gaethje prediction online. UFC 254 is upon us and is expected to be one of the promotions largest cards of the year. The undefeated and dominant champ Khabib is looking to “smesh” once again. The only problem is he has a wildly dangerous interim champ with amazing take down defense. The oddsmakers hold the champ as the heavy favorite, but before you lay it all down to bet, we have a few facts you may want to consider.
Justin Gaethje’s Path to Victory
Gaethje may never show his Division I Collegiate wrestling skills in the octagon, but it doesn’t mean he does not have that skillset in his back pocket. Whether Justin wants to or not, I guarantee you he will be forced to grapple in his bout with the champ. At the very least, his takedown defense will be the first barometer of the fight. We know Gaethje will push the pace with aggressive striking pressure. And not just as a berserker, as we have seen him do in the past. Thanks to his head striking coach Trevor Wittman, Gaethje showcased his most composed and pinpoint striking to date in his bout against Tony Ferguson. I expect to see more of the same in his title fight.
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What we’ve seen in the evolution of Gaethje is he is no longer an athletic knockout artist, but a tactician with the ability to follow the game-plan of one of the best striking coaches in the game. The only big question is the grappling. We have no doubt Gaethje has knocked the dust off his wrestling shoes for this fight. Should Gaethje stuff the takedowns early, it will be Gaethje with the sharper striking.
Khabib’s Path to Victory
The champ has never lost. Not even a round in MMA. The only chink in his armor has been his striking. We’ve seen athletes land big shots on Khabib, but his ability to get it to the ground has made that almost moot. Working with AKA, Khabib’s striking has evolved greatly. Especially when he dropped arguably the best striker, Conor McGregor. Similar to the dominant welterweight champ GSP, the champ uses the threat of a takedown to lower their level and drop hands to land a huge overhand right. Only issue is I don’t believe this will work initially against Gaethje, since his opponent does not mind grappling. He will need to land the takedowns early to get Gaethje’s corner to get him into takedown defense mode. If Khabib can get three rounds on the scorecards, he will then have the ability to land his patented overhand when faking the takedown.
Khabib vs. Gaethje Prediction
Justin Gaethje may be the first man to win a round against Khabib, but he won’t be the one to take the title. Khabib’s takedown’s are yet to be nullified, and until that day, I see Khabib dominating for some time or retiring undefeated in the next year or so. Obviously Gaethje has the ability to put out anyone as he’s done 19 times before, but the dominance of the champ makes it hard for any sports better to risk big cash on the dog.