Edson Barboza (20-6) fights Justin Gaethje (19-2) in a UFC Lightweight bout at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
It’s a fight between two big hitters and 30 of their collective 39 victories have avoided the need to go to the judges, so this promises to be explosive. In some quarters this matchup has been touted as having “Fight of the Year” potential.
Brazilian Barboza comes into this fight off an impressive performance 3rd round KO win over Dan Hooker in December, in a much-needed victory after back-to-back losses against the reigning undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and one time interim title challenger Kevin Lee.
Where Barboza feels he has the advantage over Gaethje is that he believes he has more diverse striking options with which to end a fight. Indeed, he is the only fighter in UFC history to have stoppages stemming from a head kick, body punch, body kick, leg kicks, and flying knee.
American Gaethje is also coming into the bout on the back of a knockout win, following his 1st first round win over James Vick back in August. As with Barboza, that victory also ended a two-fight losing run for Gaethje.
Gaethje has been inactive since destroying James Vick inside 90 seconds. Prior to that, he’d suffered consecutive losses against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, defeats that represent his only professional losses to date.
Edson Barboza vs Justin Gaethje Betting Lines
There’s not a vast difference between these two in the betting lines, but Barboza is the favourite to prevail at -150 with William Hill, while backers of Gaethje can get odds of +125 at bet365.
In terms of our UFC predictions for this fight, this looks unlikely to go the distance so, once the line becomes available, taking Barboza to win in the ‘Method of Victory’ betting market by KO TKO Submission or Disqualification could be the best value bet. At this stage, backing Barboza for the win has to be the bet, although it’s by no means certain.
Pick: Fight Result – Edson Barboza @ -150 (bet365)