Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will battle it out in the main event of UFC 254 on Fight Island. It will an emotional night for the Russian champion, whose father Abdulmanap passed away earlier this year.
The 57-year-old, who died from complications caused by COVID-19, was instrumental in his son’s rise to the top of the sport, where he holds an unbeaten record of 28-0.
“Who knows how I’m going to be, how I’m going to feel inside the cage? Nobody knows,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN.
“Physically, I feel great. Mentally, I feel great too.
“But this is first time I’m going to have a hard situation when I go to cage. Nobody knows.”
Nurmagomedov expects an “interesting” fight at UFC 254.
And one of his strategies for the bout will be to neutralise Gaethje’s kicks.
“Very good kicks. He has very good kicks,” said Nurmagomedov.
“They all good when they stand up. But when I grab them, it changes a little bit.
“I think that more than Dustin (Poirier), Conor (McGregor), and other guys, he knows how to wrestle. He’s going to be a little bit hard.
“But I prepare myself to try to take him down 100 times. It’s going to be very interesting on Saturday night.”
What time does Khabib vs Gaethje start in the UK?
UFC 254’s preliminary card gets underway at 5pm in the UK, with the main card due to start at 7pm.
Khabib and Gaethje are expected to be in the octagon around 10.15pm.
However, this time can vary depending on how the fight card unfolds.
Fans can watch live coverage of UFC 254 on BT Sport Box Office for £19.95.
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Khabib vs Gaethje predictions
A spokesperson for thepools.com said: “Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight crown against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 this weekend – and the bookies are convinced he will retain his crown.
“Thepools.com give Khabib a 77.8% probability of victory on Saturday night, with Gaethje a big outsider with just a 28.6% chance of success on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
“Khabib currently boasts a perfect record of 28 wins and no losses and has spoken of his dream to one day retire as an undefeated champion.
“But he will go toe to toe with one of the most skilled fighters in the UFC in Gaethje.
“Khabib on points is given a 26.7% likelihood while a stoppage success is a 22.2% chance and to win by submission a 34.8% chance.”
UFC 254 main card
Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs Justin Gaethje – Lightweight
Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier – Middleweight
Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris – Heavyweight
Jacob Malkoun vs Phillip Hawes – Middleweight
Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova – Women’s flyweight
Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba – Light heavyweight
UFC 254 Prelims
Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa – Heavyweight
Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov – Welterweight
Da-un Jung vs Sam Alvey – Light heavyweight
Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney – Catchweight (140lb)
Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick – Women’s Flyweight
Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev – Lightweight
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