Justin Gaethje has a bit of a reputation around UFC as a man that will always toe the party line. The 31-year-old certainly doesn’t fall into the same category as someone like Conor McGregor. Indeed, Gaethje is the furthest thing from a loose cannon and it’s because Dana White knows what he gets with the Arizona-born fighter that he ended up asking him to step in for Khabib Nurmagomedov back in April.
So it wasn’t any surprise when Gaethje accepted the fight at the last minute’s notice after the Russian was unable to leave his home country. However, it has now come to light that the former All-American wrestler wouldn’t have been as obliging had Tony Ferguson pulled out and he was left to face Nurmagomedov.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) March 8, 2020
According to Gaethje, there was no chance he would have agreed to step into the ring with Nurmagomedov on such short notice as he has done with Ferguson. Whether saying that was intentionally designed to irritate Ferguson or not is unknown, but given how honest and open Gaethje is about his chances against the Russian, you’re inclined to accept it as the truth. But’s let’s have a closer look at the two fighters in question and what is likely to happen in Florida.
As it stands, the latest Ferguson vs Gaethje odds indicate that the 31-year-old still has it all to do, with Ferguson being touted as the man more likely to win by knockout at 13/5. All in all, it seems unlikely that this matchup will go to the judge’s scorecards, with both fighters likely to go for the jugular from the start. It will all be about trying to reach the other’s chin in the early rounds and capitalizing on any shaky legs should they connect.
When fighters of this quality go head-to-head, it can very often be over before it ever really begins; as they say so often, blink and you will miss it. On that note, Ferguson is priced at 11/2 to win in the first round whereas Gaethje, interestingly enough, is at shorter odds of 9/2. Those odds are a nod to Gaethje’s punching power and intensity in the first round. Punters should take note of that because Ferguson certainly will be, and he may employ more of a watchful strategy during the opening round.
NO SHOW LIKE A GAETHJE FIGHT! 🤩
— UFC (@ufc) March 24, 2020
That is probably the best way to survive against Gaethje given that if you can withstand the early tsunami of punches then there’s a good chance he will be dead on his feet after that. Ferguson will see that as the time to pounce and by that, please read: throw the kitchen sink at an exhausted Gaethje. Indeed, it will be all elbows, knees, and fists from Ferguson as soon as Gaethje begins to run out of steam.
Both fighters will have come up with a particular game plan to win, but in Justin Gaethje’s case, he is a lot more confident that his one will work against Ferguson rather than Nurmagomedov. Punters can expect fireworks from the start as a pumped-up Justin Gaethje tries to land the money shot on a circumspect Tony Ferguson.