Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje: what time the UFC 254 fight is on BT Sport, odds, fight card - and why Khabib wears that hat
Fight fans are braced for what’s sure to be a night to remember this Saturday, when UFC 254 gets underway with a packed fight card
Undisputed UFC lightweight champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov will defend his title against interim belt holder, Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje.
Considered by some to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Nurmagomedov heads into the fight unbeaten in 29 professional bouts.
Elsewhere on the card, former middleweight champ Robert Whittaker will face off against Jared Cannonier, and Nurmagomedov’s Dagestanian countryman Magomed Ankalaev will fight Ion Cuțelaba at light heavyweight.
Among the free preliminary fights, Britain’s Nathaniel Wood takes on Casey Wood.
When is the fight?
UFC 254 will take place on Saturday 24 October.
The free preliminary fights are scheduled between 5pm-7pm UK time, with the undercards following that leading up toward the championship bout.
The fight time for the main event is likely to be around 10pm UK time.
The fight will take place in Abu Dhabi, at the Flash Forum on “Fight Island” or Yas Island, which has hosted several UFC events since the outbreak of the pandemic.
How to watch in the UK?
The fight will be aired on BT Sports Box Office for £19.95
It will be available for purchase on BT TV, Sky and Virgin, as well as online streaming.
The preliminary fights between 5pm-7pm are free to watch on BT Sport, or online for UFC Fight Pass holders.
Why does Khabib Nurmagomedov wear that hat?
Many people have been asking about the hat worn by the champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, in the pre-fight press conference earlier this week.
Nurmagomedov is often seen wearing a large fluffy beige headgear in press conferences or while walking out to the octagon, as it is an important part of the fighter’s culture.
The hat, known as a papakha, is native to Dagestan, the Russian territory which Nurmagomedov proudly represents.
Papakhas are made of sheepskin traditionally, and worn by the shepherds of the Avar culture in Dagestan.
Can Justin Gaethje wrestle?
Gaethje’s last five wins have all come through KO/TKOs, and his striking - primarily a fierce left hook - is his primary weapon.
Despite being known as “the Highlight” for his explosive fighting style, mainly centred around striking and high-energy movement, Gaethje’s background is in professional wrestling.
But Gaethje was once an All-American wrestler who ranked in the top 10 nationally for his weight class, before moving on to mixed martial arts and adopting a striking style.
As his opponent is regarded by many as the best grappler to ever compete in the sport, having won the vast majority of his fights by dominating on the mat, Gaethje will need to tap into this wrestling pedigree to stand a chance against the champion.
Who is on the UFC 254 fight card?
Khabib Nurmagomedov (C) vs Justin Gaethje - UFC lightweight title
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
Alex Olivieira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov
Da Un Jung vs Sam Alvey
Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney
Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick
Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev
What are the odds?
Odds, courtesy of Betfair:
3/10 Khabib vs Gaethje 5/2
EVS Whittaker vs Cannonier 4/5
8/15 Volkov vs Harris 6/4
2/1 Malkoun vs Hawes 4/11
9/4 Cutelaba vs Ankalaev 1/3
2/5 Murphy vs Shakirova 15/8
9/10 Struve vs Tuivasa 9/10