Former WSOF Lightweight champion Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (18-2-0) will clash with up-and-coming talent James “The Texecutioner” Vick (13-1-0). They are placed #7 and #11, respectively, on the UFC’s official lightweight rankings.
While the contenders have a good number of achievements to their names and are regular favorites on the best online betting sites in the United States, they have little respect for each other. In fact, Gaethje and Vick are preparing for the fight with some mud-slinging. Their trash-talk might not offer much insight into the expectable outcome of the bout but is simply too entertaining to go unmentioned.
The Gaethje-Vick beef
In his UFC 217 post-fight speech, Vick has expressed frustration with how none of the top ranked fighters seemed willing to fight him; even his social media call-outs and public trolling did not help. That complaint finally got the attention of Gaethje, who reacted with tweets mocking Vick. After some back-and-forth, Vick promised Gathje: “Imma beat the brakes off you when we fight you little bitch!” Gathje was ready with an answer, calling Vick a “crybaby” and comparing him to “a little kid that just won’t shut up because their parents won’t spank him.”
But who is the bookies’ favorite?
Unibet Sportsbook suggests that Vick has somewhat better chances to win the fight than Gaethje. Vick’s odds to emerge victorious are -155 (1.65) compared to Gathje’s +115 (2.15). Gaethje’s status as the underdog is probably the result of his coming off two defeats. While the fact that he has back-to-back losses does raise some doubts, losing to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez are nothing to be ashamed of, and he had been undefeated before meeting these giants.
Gaethje thinks his experience with the best could decide the fight, pointing out that his opponent has “never fought a Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez or a Dustin Poirier.” He is so certain that Vick is an inferior fighter that he even indicated he would retire in case Vick outclassed him.
Our Gaethje vs Vick prediction
Gaethje’s statements about Vick’s level seems to be right when it comes to grappling. In their last three fights, Gaethje had an 80% takedown defense, whereas Vick only reached 57% in that area. However, Gaethje will have to deal with a height disadvantage: he is only 5’11” compared to his 6’3” tall opponent (in other words, there will be a 10 cm difference between them).
Their meeting will certainly be a close fight despite what the contenders’ public statements suggest. Our Justin Gaethje vs James Vick prediction would be that the UFC Lincoln will end Gaethje’s streak of losses. If Gaethje takes care of making up for his height disadvantage with technique, he will surprise online sportsbook sites in the US and reward gamblers betting on Gaethje to beat Vick with a +115 increase.