UFC 254 Preview
UFC 254 is nearly upon us as fans eagerly await the blockbuster Lightweight Championship clash between undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
When is UFC 254?
It’s a night British MMA fans will treasure, as UFC 254’s main card starts at a friendly viewing time of 8PM BST. The sport continues to bring its action from behind closed doors but fans can make the most of a lively card from the comfort of their sofas.
Where is UFC 254 taking place?
The UFC is continuing its run of shows at Flash Forum located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. This is the last PPV card for the “Return to Fight Island” series, after its subsequent return earlier this September. This series saw Adesanya defeat Costa for the Middleweight Championship, along with three Fight Night cards.
UFC 254 Fight Card
This card is considered one of the most exciting this year, headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje battling it out for Lightweight gold.
The main UFC 254 card also has a potential number one contender match-up between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier at Middleweight, with the winner hotly tipped to have the next shot at Adesanya for the Middleweight Championship.
The full fight card is as follows:
UFC 254: Fight Card*
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje, Lightweight World Championship
Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier, Middleweight
Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris, Heavyweight
Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba, Light Heavyweight
Cynthia Calvillo vs Lauren Murphy, Women’s Flyweight
Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes, Middleweight
Umar Nurmagomedov vs Sergey Morozov, Bantamweight
Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa, Heavyweight
Da Un Jung vs Sam Alvey, Light Heavyweight
Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney, Catchweight
Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev, Lightweight
Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick, Women’s Flyweight
Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov, Welterweight
*Fight schedule subject to change
UFC 254 Betting Tips
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje
Nurmagomedov comes into the bout a clear favourite at 3/10 in the UFC 254 betting and, given his track record, you cannot argue against that. He has got to the top of the division in destructive fashion, currently holding a record of 28 wins and 0 defeats, with notable wins against Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Gaethje himself is a clear underdog at 13/5, following his extremely impressive KO/TKO win against Tony Ferguson in May.
Gaethje previously lost against Dustin Poirier, an opponent Nurmagomedov dismantled in his last outing in September 2019. This match is likely to come down to Gaethje’s success or failure in stopping the takedowns of Nurmagomedov, which Poirier was unable to do against the Russian.
Gaethje will need to land unpredictable strikes to stun Khabib and keep this one standing. If Gaethje brings the skills that saw him defeat Ferguson into this, then a serious upset could be on the cards here.
However, it all depends on his takedown defence. Gaethje prides himself on creating carnage inside the octagon with his unpredictability, and this could be the key to Nurmagomedov finally tasting defeat.
Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
Whittaker comes into this bout after a comeback win over Darren Till.
Whittaker previously lost the Middleweight Championship at UFC 243, after being subject to KO/TKO by still champion Israel Adesanya. The former Welterweight moved up to Middleweight in 2014 to avoid the gruelling weight cuts.
His opponent Cannonier had a contrasting journey, coming down two weight classes from the Heavyweight division to compete at Middleweight.
Cannonier is a dangerous match up for Whittaker when considering the UFC 254 odds, as he is seen to have the confidence of a Heavyweight with the bonus of additional speed and movement from the reduced weight. Cannonier is on a three-fight winning streak since his move to Middleweight, with impressive victories over Hermansson and Silva which both ended in stoppages.
This one comes down to if Whittaker can keep himself safe during the first couple of rounds due to the power Cannonier possesses.
The bout will most likely be down to striking, with Whittaker looking for precision and Cannonier using his power to head hunt. This looks to be Cannonier’s biggest test at Middleweight, and Whittaker’s precision, technical fighting IQ and Championship experience will prevail if he can avoid those power punches.
All ready for fight night ahead of UFC 254?