UFC 254 is headlined by one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history, as Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Justin Gaethje. Here are The Wolf’s tips.
Robert Whittaker (21-5) vs Jared Cannonier (13-4)
This fight could determine who gets the next shot at Israel Adesanya, as Jared Cannonier takes on ex-middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker.
After losing his title to Adesanya at UFC 243, Whittaker got back on track in his last fight, out-pointing the always dangerous Darren Till. Whittaker has combined a patient striking style with high-class wrestling in his UFC career, taking out some of the most dangerous fighters in the division along the way.
Cannonier has had a very unorthodox UFC career so far; beginning his journey at Heavyweight, dropping down to Light Heavyweight and eventually settling at 185lb, where he has done his best work. An extremely powerful striker, he has finished his last three opponents in devastating fashion, most recently knocking out Jack Hermansson in September of last year.
This is an extremely even match up and stylistically, it poses a lot of questions. Will Whittaker be able to handle the raw power of Cannonier and will Cannonier find the jump up in class too much? The betting reflects this but The Wolf is siding with The Reaper. Whittaker may have to avoid a flurry early on but if he can, he should be able to take his time and pick apart Cannonier. There is always the prospect that he could take this fight to the ground as well. Whittaker to get the job done here and set up a rematch for the 185lb title.
Alexander Volkov (31-8) vs Walt Harris (13-8)
Alexander Volkov takes on Walt Harris in a fight where both contenders are looking to break into the top 5 of the Heavyweight division.
The man they call Drago began his UFC career impressively, rattling off three quick wins before being knocked out by Derrick Lewis. Since then, he has gone 1-1 and most recently dropping a decision to Curtis Blaydes.
“The Big Ticket” has used his powerful striking to emerge as another Heavyweight contender, with all of his 13 wins coming by way of knockout. He was last seen in May taking on 265lb stalwart Alistair Overeem and was knocked out in Round 2.
Although both fighters are known for their heavy hands, The Wolf sees this fight going a little different. Volkov is a very patient fighter, using his immense reach to counter-strike and pick his opponents apart. Harris may struggle to deal with both the reach (and height) of Volkov, so this fight could quickly become a stalemate. It may seem unlikely but The Wolf thinks this fight could go all the way to the scorecards.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) vs Justin Gaethje (22-2)
There is only one word to describe this fight and that is “violent”. The two most brutal fighters in the Lightweight division (and possibly the whole UFC) will square off in a title unification match that is sure to bring some fireworks.
Khabib is well on his way to cementing his legacy as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. Combining his relentless takedown pressure with a simply suffocating top game, he has “smashed” every one of his opponents into submission, now sitting atop the 155lb throne with a record of 28-0.
Justin Gaethje, although a NCAA Division 1 Wrestler by trade, has won all of his fights dating back to 2015 by knockout. He possesses dynamite in his hands and his leg kicks are the stuff of nightmares. He did the unthinkable in his last fight, taking apart the very durable Tony Ferguson and finishing him in the 5th round.
Khabib will have his hands full here with Gaethje arguably having the best wrestling skills of anyone he has faced. He will have to be very wary of his right hand but if he can avoid taking any serious damage early on, it should only be a matter of time before Khabib takes the fight to the ground. The Wolf is tipping “The Eagle” to grind his way into a dominant position and secure a choke, solidifying him as the premier Lightweight on the planet.
Volkov, Whittaker and Khabib all to win ($4.14)
MORE UFC TIPS
|Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje||Khabib to win by Submission ($2.88)|
|Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier||Whittaker to win ($2.03)|
|Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris||Fight To Go The Distance – Yes ($2.42)|
|Phil Hawes vs Jacob Malkoun||Hawes by KO/TKO ($2.00)|
|Lillya Shakirova vs Lauren Murphy||Murphy by KO/TKO ($7.00)|
|Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba||Ankalaev by KO/TKO ($2.00)|
|Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa||Tuivasa by Round 1 KO/TKO ($4.50)|
|Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov||Oliveira by KO/TKO ($7.00)|
|Da Un Jung vs Sam Alvey||Jung by KO/TKO ($1.83)|
|Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick||Maverick by Submission ($2.40)|
|Casey Kenney vs Nathaniel Wood||Wood to Win ($2.57)|
|Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev||Fight To Go The Distance – Yes ($2.56)|