Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler will meet in a fight that will likely determine the next challenger for the UFC lightweight championship. But, more importantly, this is a fan-friendly affair that promises nothing short of fireworks and violence at UFC 268 inside of Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Chandler is coming off of a TKO loss to Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight championship in May. It was Chandler’s second UFC fight with the first being a first-round stoppage of Dan Hooker in January. Prior to that, Chandler spent a majority of his career in Bellator as a three-time lightweight champion before finally getting the call to the UFC.
MORE: UFC 268 PPV information, start time, full card
Gaethje last outing saw him dominated and submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his bid to become lightweight champion in October 2020. He briefly held the interim lightweight championship when he pulverized Tony Ferguson in May 2020. Since arriving in the UFC, Gaethje has gone 4-3 with all of his fights ending inside of the distance.
Both Chandler and Gaethje are offensive-minded fighters who have no interest in winning by points. With the stakes being considerably high, this fight will surely be entertaining.
Sporting News provides some insight on how to bet on the battle of lightweights.
All odds courtesy of FanDuel
UFC 268 odds for Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler
- Justin Gaethje: -200
- Michael Chandler: +160
Justin Gaethje enters the fight as the favorite at -200, meaning it would take a wager of $200 to see a $100 profit should he win. Chandler comes in as an underdog at +160, meaning that a $100 wager would return a $160 profit if Chandler emerges victorious.
Gaethje vs. Chandler prediction
Fight fans are absolutely salivating over this matchup as both Gaethje and Chandler rarely, if ever, have a boring fight.
The 5-foot-11 Gaethje will have a huge height advantage over the 5-foot-4 Chandler and that’s going to play a significant role in this fight.
Chandler will aim to close the distance and nullify Gaethje’s reach advantage. With impressive wrestling credentials, Chandler will aim to keep this in close quarters and work his boxing from the inside to catch Gaethje. Chandler’s pressure usually breaks his opponents before the final bell. As a matter of fact, Chandler hasn’t gone to decision since 2018 so the idea of the judges being involved should be ignored.
But Gaethje has remarkable takedown defense and is far different than the fighter who was stopped by Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez. He’s poised and avoids throwing caution to the wind like he used to. Instead, he opts to use his superior striking in a controlled manner to violently pick apart his opponents. Chandler will be no different. And with such a significant height and reach difference, this could end up being a one-sided affair that ends in a similar manner that Gaethje’s brutal striking exhibition against Tony Ferguson did.
Chandler is going to try everything in his power to pressure Gaethje but will likely find himself eating a healthy diety of leg kicks and jabs that will bludgeon the former Bellator champion. Chandler is as tough as they come but he’s not indestructible. His last four losses have all come by stoppage and it’s very likely that he’ll find himself on the wrong end of a violent, but entertaining, end against Gaethje.
Rather than pick Gaethje straight up at -200, picking a stoppage for the former interim lightweight champion has more value at +100.
Sporting News Prediction: Justin Gaethje via (T)KO (+100)