What could prove to be the most exciting MMA fight of 2020 is coming this Saturday to the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will face off against interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje in a title unification bout. The main card for UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje is a pay-per-view event, so you’ll need to sign up for ESPN+ to watch it live this weekend, but there’s still time to grab this bundle deal that lets you save $30 on the UFC 254 PPV package along with a one-year subscription to ESPN+.
Two current champions facing off is a unique scenario, but not an unprecedented one. In fact, it’s one that Khabib has experienced before when he defeated interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier to unify the lightweight title at UFC 242 last September. However, due to Nurmagomedov’s intermittent fight schedule (owing in large part this year to coronavirus-related lockdowns and fight postponements), the UFC put an interim lightweight championship on the line in a matchup between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. There, Gaethje ended Ferguson’s 12-win streak to claim the interim title.
Now, at UFC 254, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov — one of the most dominant fighters in MMA with an unbroken record of 28 wins — will once again have to defend and unify his lightweight championship. That is, of course, assuming that Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (another star fighter with a record of 22 wins and only two losses) doesn’t become the “one” in Khabib’s 28-1 after their showdown in the Octagon this Saturday.
The American interim champ has his work cut out for him if he is to knock The Eagle out of the sky, but he is in a unique position to do so. Although he favors a strike-forward stand-up fighting style, Gaethje, like Khabib, is a highly accomplished wrestler with some of the strongest grappling credentials in the UFC. This gives him an advantage that Nurmagomedov’s former foes — including star fighter Conor McGregor, whom Khabib defeated via submission at UFC 229 two years ago — did not have. The Highlight has already made his strategy clear: Force Khabib into a striking match while using his wrestling skills to keep the fight in the center of the Octagon.
Gaethje, while the underdog in this fight, could be positioned to pull off an upset victory and issue Nurmagomedov his first defeat. But in order to watch UFC 254 live, you’ll need to sign up for ESPN+. As the Khabib vs. Gaethje main card is a pay-per-view event, however, you can grab this bundle deal that gets you the UFC 254 PPV package along with a year’s worth of ESPN+ for just $90, saving you $25.
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