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UFC 254 Tale of the Tape

Get ready for UFC 254, register an account at Skybook Sportsbook and get the best UFC betting odds. We have a great welcome bonus to help you win more, make sure to deposit and place your bets early. The undisputed crown for the lightweights is in place when the linear champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, faces interim crown holder Justin Gaethje to unify the 155-pound gold on October 24 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

You know the drill, we are going to analyze the fight step by step, so you can put your bet confidently on who's leaving Fight Island as the champion. Be sure to check all the UFC 254 odds at Skybook.ag!

But first, the actual Tale of the Tape:

  Khabib Nurmagomedov
The Eagle
Justin Gaethje
The Highlight
Country Sildi, Dagestan, Russia Safford, Arizona, USA
Age 32 age 31 age
Height 5′ 10″ (178 cm) 5′ 11″ (180 cm)
Reach 70″ (178 cm) 70″ (178 cm)
Division lightweight
(155 lbs / 70,3 kg)
lightweight
(155 lbs / 70,3 kg)
Stance orthodox orthodox
Titles UFC (lightweight) UFC (Interim) (lightweight)
Record 28 - 0 - 0
(8 KOs)
22 - 2 - 0
(19 KOs)
KO% 28% 86%

Striking

While Khabib is known for his sambo style, his takedowns, and his ferocious ground game, you can't sleep on his striking, otherwise, you'll be in deep trouble. 

Yes, his striking is not a thing of beauty, but it is effective. At the end of the day, the MMA game has two "street rules": you can take a fight to the ground, but they all start on their feet. The second and most important rule is quite the simple premise: hit and don't get hit.

Yes, it's easier said than done, but Khabib can avoid major damage while creating some of his. The Eagle lands 4.11 significant strikes per minute, while only absorbing 1.65 significant strikes per minute, so his defensive output is rated at 67%.

Gaethje is more aggressive on his feet. He has trucks for fists and can knock you out cold with one clean landing. His impulse makes him eat more punches per minute than the ones he lands. While he scores 7.74 significant strikes per minute (UFC record), he swallows 8.37 per minute in return. The thing is, when you have Gaethje's power, one punch of yours equals three of the other lightweights.

Out of his 22 wins, 19 came by KO, and he showed a more calculated version, and a more precise striking when he stopped Tony Ferguson.

Even though Khabib's striking defense is excellent, this category goes to Gaethje, he is too prolific and powerful for a 155-pounder. 

Grappling

Justin Gaethje is an All-American caliber wrestler. Somehow, someway, he just doesn't use it much since entering the MMA world. He fell in love with his power.

However, his takedown defense shows he is still an incredible defensive wrestler. Against Nurmagomedov, more likely than not, he'll have to use it, and for him to come out on top, it will have to be on point.

But this is Nurmagomedov's planet, and we're just living in it. An argument can be made for Khabib being the best grappler of all time. His ground and pound is a masterpiece -a bloody one. If not, he will just choke the life out of you. 

Also, his takedown defense is 84%. That, and the fact that he lands 5.35 takedowns per 15 minutes, makes Khabib a fighter capable of commanding the tempo, the place, and the mount he is in when it comes to grappling.

Even though Gaethje is good at it, this undoubtedly goes to Khabib.

Finishing Fights

It's tough to choose sides in this category. Gaethje has 20 finishes in 22 fights, 19 by KO, and one submission. On the other hand, Nurmagomedov has tapped out 10 opponents and put to sleep an additional eight.

If we take the KO power, this would obviously go to 'the Highlight.' But, if you take the submissions road, Khabib wins by a landslide, so what do we do. Let's do the math. 

Gaethje's finishing rate is 91%. The guy is a mauler. On the other side, Nurmagomedov's finish rate is 64%. He is dominant, but he can comfortably go the distance if the finish doesn't show up. While Khabib waits for the window to open, Gaethje forces the window and cracks it open.

This one goes to Gaethje.

Current Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje odds favor the first -302 vs +232. The over is at 4½ +135, under is at 4½ -165. Don't wait, open your account and place your UFC 254 bets.

Cardio

Justin Gaethje has only lost twice in his MMA career. Both times he got knocked out because he got tired. However, he showed a more mature, cautious self when he won the interim belt against Ferguson.

He was calculated, poised, and managed his stamina perfectly. We should assume that's his mindset going against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

However, Khabib has gone the distance many times, he has dominated every single opponent that has stepped foot in the octagon with him.

The cardio is probably Khabib's biggest advantage over Gaethje.

X-Factor

Coming into every fight, there is always something that motivates, triggers, or downfalls a fighter. Sometimes it's bad blood, sometimes it's redemption, and sometimes it is a hidden weapon or strategy, but what are the x-factors for both Gaethje and Khabib?

Well, for Khabib, we pretty much know what he is as a fighter. All his bouts look the same. But this will be a first in Khabib's career. Unfortunately, his father and career-long coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, died of COVID-19 on July 3. So there are concerns about two things.

First, how well will he cope with the fact of his father's loss, and second, how much will it impact his style of fighting by entering the octagon without his coach? Will it be extra motivation or a downside will emerge for The Eagle?

For Gaethje, we know motivation is at its highest. This is the biggest fight of your life. The key for him is to stop the takedowns. If he can manage to stay in the center of the octagon, avoid going into the fences, and trade blow for blow, stopping Nurmagomedov's attempts to grapple, he can win this fight.