The UFC 254 main card is complete. Although it won’t be the blockbuster card that Khabib Nurmagomedov advertised it to be, it is still stacked and has plenty of star power:
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) September 27, 2020
As expected, the event will be headlined by the UFC lightweight title bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Justin Gaethje. However, it will not have the two bouts that Nurmagomedov boasted of earlier this month.
Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier were supposed to be the co-headliner of UFC 254 with Ferguson also serving as the backup in case Gaethje doesn’t make it to fight night. Poirier was supposed to be designated as the backup in case Khabib pulls out of the fight for whatever reason. But negotiations between the UFC and Poirier failed and Ferguson has been pulled from the event as well.
Then there was also supposed to be a scrap between top featherweights Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez. These two were supposed to fight at UFC 228, then at a headliner last August 29th. But after Rodriguez pulled out of the August bout with an injury, it was supposed to rebooked for UFC 254 but it wasn’t part of Saturday’s announcement.
The Khabib vs Gaethje showdown is one of the highly anticipated fights in the UFC. Nurmagomedov has not fought since submitting Poirier over a year ago at UFC 242.
The Eagle is looking to win his 29th consecutive bout and is a -245 odds on favorite to beat Gaethje who is currently pegged at +195 at SportsBetting.ag.
Oddsmakers are predicting this fight doesn’t go the distance with the under 4.5 rounds currently going at -160 at the same sportsbook as of 9/27/20.
The new co-main event is a middleweight showdown between no. 1 contender and former champion Robert Whitaker and no. 3 middleweight Jared Cannonier. Whitaker is coming off a win over British star Darren Till and is looking to get another crack at his old belt. Cannonier has won three straight bouts and is coming off a September win over Jack Hermansson. Aussie bookmaker SportsBet.au is the first to come up with the odds for this bout and it has Cannonier as a -125 favorite against Whitaker at even money.
Also in the main card is a heavyweight showdown between no. 6 Alexander Volkov and no.8 Walt Harris. Volkov is a former Bellator heavyweight champion who heads to Fight Island after losing to Curtis Blaydes. Harris is also trying to get back on track after getting stopped by Alistair Overeem last May. The main card also features former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos who will take on the 12th ranked Islam Makhachev.
But there is no doubt that the main draw in this event is Nurmagomedov who was looking forward to fighting Ferguson at the first fight Island series before travel restrictions prevented him from leaving his native Dagestan. Since then, Nurmagomedov has suffered a setback after his father died from complications arising from the virus.
There won’t be any issue of Khabib not making the flight to Abu Dhabi as the Eagle has already landed at Yas Island. Nurmagomedov stole the show on Saturday when he cornered teammate Zubaira Tukhugov in the latter’s bout against Hakeem Dawodu:
— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) September 27, 2020
That was the first time in a while where Khabib made a public appearance. Although Tukhugov didn’t win his fight, fans were glad to see Khabib in good spirits. The undisputed lightweight champion was also a class act when he congratulated Dawodu after leaving the octagon.
UFC 254 is set to throw down on October 24th as the fifth and final show in the UFC’s second return to Yas Island. Its six-fight main card deviates from the traditional five-bout main card and will be the first event to have six bouts in the main card since UFC 190 in 2015.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! …