UFC 254 Preview: Khabib vs. Gaethje

By Nick DiNisco

The UFC’s stint at Fight island in 2020 will come to a close on Saturday with a packed card for UFC 254.

Reminder: The main card begins significantly earlier than normal at 2 p.m. ET. You can expect the Main Event to begin around 4:30-5:00pm ET on ESPN+. 

Interim Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje (22-2-0) will be the challenger as he is set to face off against the UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0-0). Khabib is listed as the UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and has an impressive resume as he has beaten every opponent that has stepped in the ring with him in a relatively straightforward fashion. Justin Gaethje put together a master-class performance in his interim championship fight against Tony Ferguson. Justin landed many heavy blows while avoiding the majority that came his way. Gaethje’s maturity in the game has not gone unnoticed and is part of the reason this fight is so compelling. 

If things go according to plan for Khabib, everything lies in his hands as to what his future holds. He can continue to fight just about anyone he chooses or he has the option of stepping away from the game for good as this fight will take an emotional toll on him after the recent passing of his father. Justin Gaethje has an All-American wrestling pedigree and has one punch KO power. If Gaethje can pull off this massive upset then we could see a lot of entertaining fights in the future. Maybe there’s an immediate rematch with Nurmagomedov. Dan Hooker, Conor Mcgregor and Dustin Poirer are all valid options too. But before anyone gets carried away, Gaethje is staring at his biggest test of his career square in the face.  

UFC 254 Betting Odds via DraftKings:

Justin Gaethje +245

Khabib Nurmagomedov -315

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