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At long last, one of the biggest fights of the year is set to take place this weekend.
William Hill has odds up for all 12 fights for Saturday’s UFC 254 from Fight Island, with none bigger than the lightweight title bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov is currently a -340 favorite at William Hill, with Gaethje priced at +280. The UFC stars opened at -260 and +220 respectively when William Hill first released odds for this fight back on August 14. The total is now at 4.5, with the under favored at -175 and the over at +155.
Nurmagomedov enters with an extraordinary 28-0 record, and was first awarded the lightweight champion belt after defeating Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision in April 2018. Since then, Nurmagomedov has won via submission over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, though this will be his first fight of 2020.
“I guess Khabib is considered the best there is in UFC right now and he does attract big handles for his fights,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “Obviously McGregor is the one who’s the biggest by far drawing money to their fights. A lot might have to do with the fact that Khabib’s always a huge favorite, and that really repels action. This fight should be great, and I do anticipate an incredible handle even though it’s on a Saturday with a ton of college football.”
Gaethje is 22-2 and has won his last four fights, with the most recent victory coming against Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship in April 2020. On Saturday, he’ll enter the Octagon for his biggest showdown yet in this unification bout.
“I would imagine we’ll end up needing the favorite in this fight,” Bogdanovich said. “Any time you get a super live dog in this price range, so many $100 or $1,000 bets will end up on Gaethje like it did on [Teofimo] Lopez in the fight last week [against Vasiliy Lomanchenko in boxing]. There’s also a lot of factors working against Khabib: the layoff, no fans, the death of his father, no rust. That’s why I have a feeling there will be plenty of dog money, Gaethje’s been more active and he’s a good fighter getting a good price.”
Early on, William Hill bettors are split about who will come out on top on Saturday. Gaethe has the edge in total number of tickets at 67%, however Nurmagomedov is leading in total dollars wagered at 72%.
That is highlighted by one Nevada bettor placing $79,500 on Nurmagomedov -265 for a total potential payout of $109,500, which is the largest UFC 254 bet taken thus far at William Hill. The largest wager on the underdog came from another Nevada bettor who put down $50,000 on Gaethje +240 for a total potential payout of $170,000.
Check out William Hill’s current odds for every UFC 254 fight below.