The UFC are gearing up to stage one of their biggest events of the year, when lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim champion Justin Gaethje. We asked our roster how they’re calling it.
Jake Hadley: “Khabib’s wrestling and top control will be too much for Justin. I predict a 3rd round sub via rear-naked choke.”
Ben Ellis: “I think Justin will have a lot of success with calf kicks. Khabib will score multiple takedowns but with minimum damage, and Justin will be able to get up. Then in rounds 3/4, when Justin a bit slower getting up, Khabib will take his back and win by rear naked choke.”
Perry Goodwin: “I love an underdog, that’s why I’m always losing my bets. So I’m going with Gaethje TKO, or even a decision.”
Luke Shanks: “Big fan of Justin Gaethje. He has looked almost invincible, and Tony never had a chance to get him down. But… this is KHABIB. He has literally mentally broken everyone. He changes people, after people fight him they are not the same. We haven’t seen anything like this since the Mike Tyson era. Khabib is well aware of this. How can you doubt a man with this much confidence?”
Check out how Shanks was able to replicate Khabib himself and pull off a 5-round grappling showcase at CW114!
🕹 TOTAL control from @MrApocalypseMMA.
👊 The new champion went full @TeamKhabib at CW114!
⬇️ Here’s how the flyweight title was won. pic.twitter.com/1jdNxKxKDv
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) October 1, 2020
Dean Trueman: “I’m a fan of both fighters and love both of their styles. It’s a really hard fight to pick personally. I think Gaethje is the best wrestler that Khabib has fought in the UFC, so it makes for an interesting fight. I’m interested to see the wrestling exchanges on the feet – Gaethje takes it for me. So it all comes down to whether Khabib can take Gaethje down and control him like he has his previous opponents. I think Gaethje will be hard to keep down and will either decision or TKO Khabib.”
Darren O’Gorman: “I think Khabib wins. Gaethje has a style that could pose a problem, very tough and awkward fighter to enforce your style on, but Khabib has proven himself time and time again to dominate whatever is put in front of him. I find it hard to see this time being any different.”
Aaron Khalid: “I’ve got Khabib. Rear naked choke, round 2.”
When Khalid makes a submission prediction, we sit up and listen. Check out how he secured one of the fastest subs in Cage Warriors history at CW114.
At just 28 seconds, @KhalidMMA picked up one of the fastest submission finishes in Cage Warriors history at CW114! ⏰
Can you think of a quicker one? pic.twitter.com/OPq2SCuZMW
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) October 2, 2020
Paddy Pimblett: “I want Gaethje to win, and I think he could be the only person who can nullify Khabib’s wrestling. I love an underdog story, so I’m going for Justin by KO/TKO.”
Jack Grant: “I personally see Khabib being very dominant as usual & winning via TKO/sub in the 3rd or 4th round. However, you would be crazy to count Justin out totally. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can stop the takedowns, if so, the fight gets very interesting. I believe in the early rounds he could finish anyone.”
Morgan Charriere: “I’m cheering for Gaethje. I like his fighting style and the guy. I think he will put pressure on Khabib and he’ll stay on the center of the octagon, trying to chop Khabib’s leg, hurt him and stopping the takedown. And for Khabib, I think he will move around the cage waiting to feel Gaethje’s timing, and then shoot a low single to bring him to the Cage or down and impose his game. Whoever will win the wrestling exchange will win the fight. I see Khabib able to secure his game – everything depends on the ability from Gaethje to defend the takedown.”
Paul Hughes: “One sided mauling for Khabib. I think he will get the submission finish by the 4th round. I also believe that Khabib will have a lot of success on the feet, for as long as it stays standing. And possibly hurt Justin with some heavy leaping shots (just like he did to McGregor). Would love to see Justin get the win, but I think Khabib will control every area of the fight. He’s 28-0 for a reason!”
Hughes knows a thing or two about the submission finish – check out his latest from CW116!
He submitted the submission specialist! 🐍
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) October 15, 2020
Jordan Vucenic: “I think Justin will come out and look like he has the perfect game plan to shut Khabib down, and Khabib will face early adversity. But as the rounds go on, Khabib will do what he always does take over and be dominant. #Smesh.”
Sam Creasey: “Khabib to win by decision, I believe Gatheje will be too aggressive on the feet in closing the distance, allowing Khabib to secure takedowns and keep Justin on the ground to secure victory.”
Josh Reed: “If Gaethje doesn’t let his hands go and put hands on him within the first 3 minutes of round 1, it’s all one way traffic there. I think Khabib’s going to take over. And then by the second or third round, he’ll out-wrestle him. His ground game is just levels above the rest.”
Jack Cartwright: “I think it’s a fight that could go either way, but have a feeling it’ll be one sided for whoever wins. If Khabib can get Gaethje down, then he’ll be able to control and most likely finish him late. But if Gaethje can stuff a few wrestling exchanges early, then I think he can catch Khabib and put him out. I’ll always go with the brawler, so Gaethje by KO.”
And if you needed any more evidence that Jack Cartwright loves the KO…
One from the vault! 🔓
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) April 19, 2020