Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov will meet on Oct. 24, a bout that was facing some uncertainty after the Dagestani fighter’s father recently passed away due to COVID-19. It looks like Nurmagomedov only needs about a month of additional time to prepare for another lightweight title defense, as the two men were originally expected to fight in September.
JUST IN: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje will take place at #UFC 255 on October 24. Location is TBD.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) July 28, 2020
BetMGM, one of Indiana’s legal and regulated online/mobile sportsbooks, has posted a line on the fight. Gaethje opens as a +195 underdog against Nurmagomedov, who sits at -239. It’s likely the money will come in on the undefeated Nurmagomedov (28-0) at that price.
Gaethje, a wrecking ball in the division after back-to-back losses in 2017/18, recently turned in a dominant performance against UFC legend Tony Ferguson. Gaethje secured a Round 5 TKO (punches) against Ferguson, in a bout that came together last minute due to another untimely cancellation of Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson.
BetMGM doesn’t currently have any additional markets for Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje listed.
A location for the fight has yet to be announced.
Value on Nurmagomedov?
It’s widely assumed Gaethje, a high-level wrestler with very heavy hands and crisp boxing, poses one of the greatest threats to Nurmagomedov during his storied MMA career. That may be true, but there still appears to be some solid value on the undefeated fighter.
When Nurmagomedov fought top lightweight Dustin Poirier back in September, he was a -440 favorite at FanDuel, with Poirier sitting at +320. MMA math doesn’t mean much, but Poirier has a convincing win over Gaethje. Poirier is a sharper boxer than Gaethje.
Gaethje is expected to give Nurmagomedov a tougher time on the grappling front, which is Nurmagomedov’s bread and butter, but that’s probably not enough to justify Gaethje being just 2/1 as an underdog. He probably should be 3/1.
BetMGM’s odds differ significantly with the prices at PointsBet released Tuesday, where Gaethje is listed at +250 and Nurmagomedov at -350. If you like Gaethje, and there are plenty of ways to imagine him emerging victorious, that’s a much more attractive price.
According to BestFightOdds.com, it appears that Gaethje has really benefited, in terms of his odds, since the Ferguson victory in May. Since May, Khabib has moved from a -350 average across a handful of sportsbooks (some unregulated) to a -237 average in a matchup against Gaethje.