On Deck: Looking ahead to Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje

In the main event of UFC 274, the lightweight title is up for grabs as Charles Oliveira looks to defend it for the second time as he takes on Justin Gaethje. The event goes down at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

UFC 274 Opening Odds:

Charles Oliveira -205
Justin Gaethje +175

Current UFC 274 Odds (as of April 30):

Charles Oliveira -165
Justin Gaethje +145

Oliveira and Gaethje’s recent fights

Charles Oliveira (32-8) is on a 10-fight win streak with his last loss coming to Paul Felder way back at UFC 218 in 2017. On this run, he has beaten the likes of Michael Chandler by KO to win the vacant belt, submitted Dustin Poirier to defend it, and also beat Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee, Jim Miller, and Clay Guida. The Brazilian started out his career at featherweight and struggled as many thought he was a quitter which Gaethje says is still the case.

Justin Gaethje (23-3) returned to the win column last time out as he beat Michael Chandler by decision in the Fight of the Year for 2021. Prior to that, he suffered a second-round submission loss for his shot at undisputed UFC gold. He is the former interim lightweight champion as he TKO’d Ferguson at UFC 249 to win the interim belt which was his fourth win in a row as he also knocked out Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. Gaethje joined the UFC in 2017 and knocked out Michael Johnson in his debut before losing back-to-back fights to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Prior to signing with the UFC, he was the WSOF lightweight champ.

Are the odds surprising?

The opening odds were a surprise as to me this is a near pick’em fight with a slight lean towards Oliveira. Gaethje has legit one-punch KO power and might be the hardest hitter at 155lbs and in Oliveira’ last two fights, we saw Chandler drop him and hurt him badly while Poirier also dropped and hurt the champ. Should Gaethje land one of those shots, there’s a good chance the fight ends there.

However, Oliveira does have the jiu-jitsu and we saw Gaethje struggle on the ground against Nurmagomedov so there is a chance the champ can get it down to the ground and submit him. Along with that, we have seen him recover from getting hurt and it’s time he starts getting respect so he should be the favorite.

How might the odds change?

As we have already seen, money has already come in on Gaethje and I expect that to be the case up until the fight. Oliveira has continuously been underrated and disrespected by the oddsmakers and the betting public as he was the underdog to Poirier, a slight favorite over Chandler, an underdog to Ferguson, and an underdog to Lee.

Gaethje, meanwhile, is someone the public has started to appreciate as after the back-to-back loses it took a bit to get people to bet on him as he was the underdog to James Vick and Barboza but was a sizeable favorite over Cerrone and Chandler.

This is a close fight and I do think sharp action will be on both sides but I do think by the time the two men step inside the Octagon it will be around -140 for Oliveira.

Written by Cole Shelton

Follow Cole on Twitter: @ColeShelton91


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