UFC 286 Co-Main Event: Gaethje vs. Fiziev Best Bets, Odds, and Analysis

profile image of David Manyun
Justin Gaethje reacts after losing by submission to Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship bout during UFC 274 at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The penultimate event of Saturday’s UFC 286 PPV in London, England, will deliver an instant classic as renowned strikers Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev will throw down in the center of the octagon. 

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC 286 co-main event between Gaethje and Fiziev, including updated odds and our free expert UFC picks, analysis, and predictions. 

UFC fans located in the United States can place their wagers at any of the top-rated US betting sites.

Top Betting Pick for UFC 286 Co-Main Event  

UFC Pick: Over 1½ Rounds (-180) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

BetOnline logo
Over 1½ Rounds  (-180)
Visit Site

Over 1 ½ Rounds Reasoning 

The moneyline price is wide, but considering that Gaethje has never been stopped inside the first 10 minutes during his entire career and Fiziev has on just one occasion, the over 1.5 total rounds with a value of -180 feels like a sure bet. I expect a drawn-out striking battle with fight-of-the-night potential; two durable chins going head-to-head can cash our over 1.5, albeit with a slight along the way.  

  • Confidence Rating: 4/5  

UFC 286 Co-Main Event Information 

  • When: Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 12:00 PM EDT  
  • Where: 02 Arena, London, England 
  • Main Event: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman [Welterweight Championship Bout] 
  • Co-Main Event: Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev [Lightweight Bout] 
  • Co-Main Moneyline Probability: Gaethje – 34.5% (+190), Fiziev – 69.2% (-225) 
  • Co-Main Totals Probability: Over 1½ – 45.5% (-180), Under 1½ – 40% (+150) 

UFC 286 Co-Main Event: Tale of the Tape 

Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje

Forever a fan favorite, the eagerly anticipated return of Justin Gaethje comes to an end this Saturday in London, and there’s nothing more we’d love to see than 'The Highlight' living up to his nickname by returning the win column with a highlight reel finish we’ve been waiting for.  

However, we must face facts. Aged 34, Gaethje’s prime fighting years could be behind him. A dominant championship-winning effort by Charles Oliveira last summer was Gaethje’s second and likely last title bout.  

There’s no denying the toughness of Gaethje, and it’s no secret that power is the final attribute of a fighter to leave. That said, he’s looked lethargic and less durable since 2020, and when faced with the lightweight division's top 10-ranked competitors, it isn’t easy to gauge his potential moving forward.  

Gaethje Combat Sports Accomplishments   

  • UFC Lightweight Interim Champion (One time)  
  • UFC Fight of the Night (Six times)  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Four times)  
  • WSOF Lightweight Champion (One time, five defenses)  
  • NCAA Div I All-American (2010)  

Best Available ML Odds: (+190) at BetOnline 

Rafael Fiziev

Rafael Fiziev is a part of the new breed of UFC lightweight competitors. Since making his promotional debut in 2019, he has impressively collected a 6-1 record and is currently riding a six-fight win streak after suffering from defeat in his debut.  

Fiziev has climbed the rankings rapidly, thanks to his successes over the likes of Bobby Green, Brad Riddell, and former 155lb champion Rafael dos Anjos. More impressively, Fiziev has dominated some elite-level opposition, as two of his previous three octagon appearances were won via KO/TKO.  

The former Muay Thai champion of Kyrgyzstan is predominantly a striker. Fiziev welcomes a kickboxing battle, and his skillset has been fine-tuned by the striking masterclasses held at Tiger Muay Thai gym.

He’s displayed a respectable takedown defense to date and has collected valuable grappling techniques from Sanford MMA. And although his weekend opponent is a noteworthy freestyle wrestler, Gaethje loves his striking offense too much and will likely fall right into a punch-for-punch, kick-for-kick battle with Fiziev.   

Fiziev Combat Sports Accomplishments   

  • UFC Fight of the Night (Two times)  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Three times)  
  • 3X Kyrgyzstan Muay Thai Champion  

Best Available ML Odds: (-225) at BetOnline 

UFC 286 Co-Main Event Skillset Analysis   

Gaethje is undoubtedly worthy of his ranking position, and as a former interim champion, he’s competed at the sport's highest level. The red flags arrive from the battles he’s been involved with, and how much does the 34-year-old really have left in the tank? These red flags are waving stronger due to his weekend opponent, a fast and dominant kickboxer that can outwork and outperform Gaethje for all three rounds.  

The smart approach for Gaethje would be to implement his wrestling background into the game plan. However, time and time against, we’ve watched the American fall in love with his striking offense – and rightfully so; he’s finished five of his six UFC wins via KO/TKO.  

The American's attributes have brought him a long way, but they’re notably fading. The younger and faster striker in Fiziev can nullify Gaethje’s dangerous leg kicks, beat him to the punch, and top the significant strike counters for all three rounds.  

The Muay Thai experience of Fiziev is displayed in each fight he’s involved with. Although 'The Highlight' has defeated a stiff level of competition, he hasn’t fought a striker as dynamic, intelligent, and fast as Fiziev in many years.   

Over 1 ½ Rounds: The UFC 286 Best Bet Formula  

The available UFC odds favor Fiziev, but finding value in the -225 moneyline price is tough. However, we’re dealing with two dangerous strikers, the durability of Fiziev and Gaethje has been noteworthy during their respective careers.  

I wouldn’t be surprised if the fight ends in round three, but stopping one of these two chins within the first ten minutes is unlikely. And for this reason, backing the over 1.5 rounds at -180 feels like a chunk of respectable betting value.  

UFC Pick: Over 1½ Rounds (-180) at BetOnline

UFC 286 Main Card & Odds 

UFC 286 Preliminary Card & Odds 

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.