UFC 274 Odds, Preview & Betting Guide: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje (2022)

May 2, 2022 - 5:04 PM

Two championship belts are on the line this weekend as the UFC heads to Phoenix, AZ, for UFC 274. The co-main event features Rose Namajunas defending her strap for the second straight fight. This time, it’ll be a rematch with Carla Esparza, whom Thug Rose lost to back in 2014. We’ll be diving into the main event in this article, as Charles Oliveira looks to defend his lightweight belt for the second time. Justin Gaethje is the contender, making his first attempt at the belt since he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title in October of 2020. 

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Betting Profile: Charles Oliveira (32-8-0, 1NC)

Last Five Fights (W-W-W-W-W)

As the great Khabib Nurmagomedov rode off into the sunset, Charles Oliveira seized the opportunity as a vacancy was at the top of the lightweight division. The Brazilian native defeated Michael Chandler to claim the title in May of 2021 and won his first defense against Dustin Poirier in December of last year. The champ carries a 10-fight win streak into his second defense, with only one of those 10 bouts going the distance. 

Oliveira is the perfect combination of finesse and power. Six have come via submission out of the nine fights he finished his opponents before the final bell, while three have been stopped early from knockouts. Oliveira puts his 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to use often, averaging 2.8 submission attempts per 15 minutes. As I mentioned, he’s also lethal with his hands, landing 3.44 significant strikes per minute at a 53% accuracy rate. Oliveira is easily the most well-rounded fighter in the division and will be a mainstay at the top of the division for the foreseeable future. 

Betting Profile: Justin Gaethje (23-3-0)

Last Five Fights (W-L-W-W-W)

Justin Gaethje held the interim title for a brief stint when he knocked out Tony Ferguson in May of 2020. In the post-fight interview, the Arizona native wasn’t very accepting of the title, telling Joe Rogan that he wouldn’t accept the belt until he was the undisputed champ. Unfortunately for Gaethje, he couldn’t capture the undisputed title as Khabib submitted him via triangle choke in his final fight. Gaethje bounced back in November of last year, winning a unanimous decision in an absolute war against Michael Chandler. He’ll have his second shot at the undisputed championship this weekend, but it’ll be another tall task for the American. 

Despite having a legendary wrestling career, Gaethje only relies on his wrestling for takedown defense, where he’s stuffing 73% of the opponent’s takedown attempts. He lands 0.00 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 0% clip, so it’s safe to say that Gaethje only has one mission when stepping into the octagon – to leave with a knockout. Nineteen of his 23 mixed martial arts victories have come via knockout, and he’s landing 7.50 significant strikes per minute at a 60% accuracy rate. 

Bottom Line

Whether it’s by knockout or submission, both Oliveira and Gaethje are masterful finishers. Over the combined 55 professional victories that these two fighters have to their names, 49 of them have not made it the distance. In my opinion, there’s no way that this fight makes it to the judges’ scorecards. The oddsmakers agree, setting the odds for “Fight Does Not Go the Distance” at -360 (via BetRivers). That’s too steep a price for me to lay as a single bet; however, it could fit nicely into a parlay.

The bottom line in this fight is that Justin Gaethje takes too many shots throughout a fight. He’s absorbing 7.81 significant strikes per minute, which is not a statistic you want to carry into a bout against a fighter of Charles Oliveira’s caliber. I expect Oliveira to piece up Gaethje in the early rounds before mixing in some takedown attempts later in the fight. If he can get Gaethje to the canvas, look for the Brazilian to gain some ground and pound work before slipping in some type of submission to finish Gaethje. I like Oliveira to retain the lightweight belt and do it within 25 minutes. 

Pick: Oliveira Inside the Distance (+100 via DraftKings)

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