UFC 254 takes place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE aka Fight Island on October 24 (October 25 in Australia). The top of fight card features reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov up against interim 155-pound titleholder Justin Gaethje. The pair squares off in a five-round championship unification live on pay-per-view.
Unbeaten champion from Dagestan, Russia, Nurmagomedov (28-0) was last in action a bit over a year ago back in Abu Dhabi, where he submitted Dustin Poirier in the third round and made the second successful defense of his belt. In October 2018 he defeated Conor McGregor by submission in Round 4, after earning a vacant 155-pound title by unanimous decision against Al Iaquinta.
“The Eagle” was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson this past April, but the bout fell off when he was unable to leave Russia due to shut borders amid coronavirus crisis. He was replaced by Justin Gaethje (22-2), who stopped “El Cucuy” in the fifth round and recorded the fourth win in a row. Before that “The Highlight” from the US stopped Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and James Vick in the first round.
In the co-main event of UFC 254 card, former 185-pound champion Robert Whittaker goes up against Jared Cannonier in a three-round battle at middleweight. The bout is expected to determine the next top contender to challenge the reigning champion in the division Israel Adesanya for an undisputed belt at a future event.
NZ-born representative of Australia, Whittaker (21-5) fought this past September, taking the win by unanimous decision against Darren Till. In October last year he was stopped by Adesanya in Round 2 and lost the belt.
Cannonier (13-4) of the US last fought in December 2019, when he TKO’d Jack Hermansson in Round 2. With the win he scored the third straight victory.
The top of UFC 254 preliminary card features Australian Tai Tuivasa, who is looking to break the three-fight losing streak, when he faces fellow-heavyweight Stefan Struve of Holland.
Tuivasa (9-3) made his UFC debut in February 2018. Following the first-round stoppage of Cyril Asker, he earned a unanimous decision against former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. After that “Bam Bam” was TKO’d by former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, lost by unanimous decision against Blagoy Ivanov, and suffered the defeat by submission against Sergey Spivak.
Struve (29-12) was in action last December, when he was stopped by Ben Rothwell in the second round. In February the same year he submitted Marcos Rogerio de Lima also in Round 2.
The current (as of writing) UFC 254 fight card can be found below. The scheduled bantamweight bout between Sergey Morozov and Umar Nurmagomedov has recently fell off, after the latter was hospitalized due to an illness.
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje Australia time
MMA fans in Australia can watch UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje live on Main Event and Fetch. The pay-per-view is set for $54.95 AUD. The main card is scheduled for Sunday, October 25 at 5 am AEDT. The preliminary card is set for 3 am AEDT, following the early prelims, kicking off MMA action at 2 am AEDT.
UFC 254 is held in prime time in the UAE, which indeed converts the schedule to a fairly unusual start time in Australia, Europe, the UK and the US, as well as the rest of the world.
As for the US, UFC 254 is scheduled for Saturday, October 24 at 11 am ET / 9 am PT when MMA action begins with the early preliminary bouts. The late prelims follow at 12 pm ET / 10 am PT. The main card headlined by Khabib vs Gaethje begins at 2 pm ET / 12 pm PT.
UFC 254 fight card
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
Jacob Malkoun vs. Phil Hawes
Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa
Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey
Early Preliminary Card
Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev