The opening odds for the upcoming lightweight main event at UFC Fight Night 135 between James Vick and Justin Gaethje were recently released by the offshore sportsbooks, and here they are:
UFC Fight Night 135 Opening Odds
Saturday, August 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska
James Vick -115
Justin Gaethje -115
And here are my initial thoughts on this bout:
This fight was originally set to be Gaethje against Al Iaquinta, but Vick replaced Iaquinta after he pulled out of the fight. Vick didn’t take the fight on short notice, though, as he was alreay set to fight Paul Felder and therefore both men had a full training camp for this fight. I’m expecting a really fun fight between two of the best lightweights in the world here.
Vick (13-1) is an impressive 9-1 in the UFC and is finally get his chance to main event a card. He has won four straight fights with a decision win over Francisco Trinaldo in his last outing. His only career pro defeat came against Beneil Darisuh but otherwise Vick has been perfect. He is one of the biggest lightweights in the UFC and has knockout power on the feet and slick submissions on the ground. He generally has not fought the best lightweights in the division but aside from Dariush has pretty much ran through everyone in his way and he is definitely a very talented fighter.
Gaethje (18-2) is just 1-2 in the UFC but keep in mind his three fights against Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier were all “Fight of the Night” winner as this man is always involved in exciting fights. He’s one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, bar none. He constantly walks forward throwing strikes and looking for the finish, but this style of fighting has also led to his downfall as he was knocked out in devastating fashion to Poirier and Alvarez in his last two fights. He should strongly consider going to his wrestling, as he has underrated grappling, but considering all the bonus money he wins for his standup wars, it’s hard to say if he will be changing his style anytime soon.
The odds opened with Vick and Gaethje at a Pick ’em, and since then bettors have turned Vick into the favorite. Despite Gaethje’s recent knockout losses, I still think he’s the better fighter and I feel like he’s being written off far too soon after losing to two of the best lightweights on the planet in Poirier and Alvarez. As it stands, I would favor Gaethje as a dog. He’s fought the higher level of competition and I think if he fights smart for once he should be able to get Vick out of there. After all, this is a must-win fight for Gaethje and he needs to get the victory if he wants to make another run for the title. But we have seen Gaethje fight very sloppily at times and if that happens, maybe Vick can catch him. We’ll see what happens but on paper this is just a great fight.