UFC 254

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UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje
Khabib vs. Gaethje.jpeg
The poster for UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje.
PromotionUltimate Fighting Championship
DateOctober 24, 2020 (2020-10-24)
VenueFlash Forum
CityAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
AttendanceNone (behind closed doors)[1]
Event chronology
UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva

UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on October 24, 2020 at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[2][3][4]


The plan is to proceed with local timing for prime time hours. The main card is scheduled to begin at 10:00 pm (October 24) local time in Abu Dhabi, with a full preliminary card beginning at approximately 6:15 pm Gulf Standard Time.[5]

A UFC Lightweight Championship unification bout between current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje (also former WSOF Lightweight Champion) has been tabbed to serve as the event headliner.[6] The bout was briefly linked to UFC 253, but the date did not materialize and will instead take place five weeks later.[7] On September 17, the UFC announced the signing of former three-time Bellator Lightweight World Champion Michael Chandler, who is expected to serve as backup and potential replacement for this fight.[8]

A middleweight bout between former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier was initially scheduled to take place in March at UFC 248, but Whittaker pulled out due to personal reasons.[9] The pairing has now been rescheduled for this event.[10]

Despite never being officially announced, a featherweight bout between The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America featherweight winner Yair Rodríguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov was expected to take place at this event.[11] The pairing has been scheduled on two previous occasions, first at UFC 228 in September 2018 and then at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakić in August of this year. However, Rodríguez pulled out of both events with injury.[12][13][14]

Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cuțelaba first met in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo, where Ankalaev won via controversial knockout.[15] Due to the controversy of the stoppage, the UFC booked the rematch for UFC 249, on its original April 18 date.[16] However, Ankalaev was forced to pull out of the event due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17] They were later rebooked for UFC 252, but Cuțelaba then pulled out after testing positive for COVID-19 and the bout was rescheduled for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakić.[18] Cuțelaba tested positive yet again on the day of the event, resulting in another cancellation of this fight.[19] In turn, they were rescheduled for a third time and will meet at this event.[20]

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos was expected to face Shavkat Rakhmonov in a welterweight bout at the event.[21] However, Zaleski pulled out in late September due to a knee injury that will require surgery.[22] He was replaced by Alex Oliveira.[23]

A lightweight bout between former champion Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev was expected to take place at the event.[24] However on October 8, it was announced that dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 and was pulled from the bout.[25] A replacement could not be found and Makhachev was also removed from the event.[26] The pairing was left intact and rescheduled for November 14 at UFC Fight Night 183.[27]

Cynthia Calvillo and former Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Lauren Murphy were scheduled to meet in a women's flyweight bout at the event.[28] However on October 15, Calvillo was forced to withdraw from the bout after testing positive for COVID-19 and she was replaced by promotional newcomer Liliya Shakirova.[29]

A bantamweight bout between Umar Nurmagomedov and Sergey Morozov was expected to take place at the event. However on October 18, it was announced that Nurmagomedov had been hospitalized due to an illness and was pulled from the bout. The promotion is seeking a replacement for Morozov.[30]

Fight card[edit]

Main card
Weight class Method Round Time Notes
Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Justin Gaethje (ic) [a]
Middleweight Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
Heavyweight Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
Middleweight Jacob Malkoun vs. Phil Hawes
Women’s Flyweight Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova
Light Heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cuțelaba
Preliminary card (ESPN / ESPN+)
Heavyweight Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa
Catchweight (140 lb) Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
Catchweight (173 lb) Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Light Heavyweight Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey
Early preliminary card (ESPN / ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Women's Flyweight Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
Catchweight (158 lb) Joel Álvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev


Announced bouts[edit]

  • Bantamweight bout: Sergey Morozov vs. TBA[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marc Williams (2020-09-14). "UFC schedule 2020: Every upcoming event including Israel Adesanya's UFC 253 fight in Abu Dhabi and Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje". talksport.com. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  2. ^ Don Riddell, Glen Levy and Ben Church (2020-07-28). "Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight Justin Gaethje in October return, says UFC president Dana White". cnn.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2020-09-04). "UFC 253 kicks off Fight Island return in Abu Dhabi". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  4. ^ Brett Okamoto (2020-09-04). "Sources: UFC 253, 254 to be held at Fight Island". espn.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  5. ^ Press Release (2020-09-17). "UFC Fight Island - Everything you need to know". ufc.com. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  6. ^ Simon Head (2020-07-28). "Dana White announces Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje for Oct. 24". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  7. ^ Staff (2020-07-22). "Khabib's manager insists Justin Gaethje bout will still happen in 2020". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  8. ^ Staff (2020-09-17). "Michael Chandler signs with UFC, will serve as backup for Khabib-Gaethje at UFC 254". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  9. ^ Nolan King (2020-01-15). "Robert Whittaker out of UFC 248 fight against Jared Cannonier". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  10. ^ Nolan King (2020-08-01). "Ex-champ Robert Whittaker meets Jared Cannonier at UFC 254". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  11. ^ Cole Shelton (2020-08-14). "Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez rescheduled for UFC 254". bjpenn.com. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  12. ^ Harry Davies (2018-08-23). "Injury forces Yair Rodriguez out of UFC 228 fight vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  13. ^ Nolan King (2020-08-04). "Dana White confirms Yair Rodriguez injured, out of fight vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  14. ^ Damon Martin (2020-08-10). "Zabit Magomedsharipov announces he will not fight on Aug. 29, returning to Russia for now". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  15. ^ Damon Martin (2020-02-29). "UFC Norfolk results: Magomed Ankalaev earns KO over Ion Cutelaba in highly controversial stoppage". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  16. ^ Damon Martin (2020-03-05). "Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev re-booked for UFC 249 following controversial stoppage". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  17. ^ Alexander K. Lee (2020-04-06). "UFC 249 fight card announced, Andrade vs. Namajunas 2 still co-headlines". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  18. ^ Steven Marrocco and Damon Martin (2020-08-11). "Ion Cuțelaba tests positive for COVID-19, rematch against Magomed Ankalaev bumped from UFC 252 to August 29 event". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  19. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-08-29). "Ion Cutelaba tests positive for COVID-19, Magomed Ankalaev rematch off UFC on ESPN+ 33". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-08-29.
  20. ^ Zane Simon (2020-09-09). "Fifth time's a charm - UFC re-books Cutelaba vs. Ankalaev again". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  21. ^ Staff (2020-09-11). "Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov added to UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2020-09-11. (in Dutch)
  22. ^ Diego Ribas and Natássia del Fischer (2020-09-30). "Elizeu 'Capoeira' injuries his knee ligament and is out of UFC 254". agfight.com. Retrieved 2020-09-30. (in Portuguese)
  23. ^ Natássia del Fischer (2020-10-07). "Alex 'Cowboy' replaces Elizeu 'Capoeira' and faces undefeated rival at UFC 254". uol.com.br. Retrieved 2020-10-07. (in Portuguese)
  24. ^ Farah Hannoun and Mike Bohn (2020-08-20). "Rafael dos Anjos returns to lightweight, meets Islam Makhachev at UFC 254". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  25. ^ Newswire (2020-10-08). "Rafael dos Anjos announces COVID-19 positive, scratch from UFC 254". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  26. ^ Tristen Critchfield (2020-10-14). "Islam Makhachev won't receive replacement opponent at UFC 254". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  27. ^ Staff (2020-10-20). "Islam Makhachev vs. Rafael Dos Anjos rescheduled, this time for November 14th". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2020-10-20. (in Dutch)
  28. ^ Jose Youngs and Mike Heck (2020-08-13). "Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lauren Murphy in the works for UFC 254". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  29. ^ Brett Okamoto (2020-10-15). "Cynthia Calvillo withdraws from UFC 254 bout with Lauren Murphy, replaced by Liliya Shakirova". espn.com. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  30. ^ a b Simon Head (2020-10-18). "Umar Nurmagomedov hospitalized in Dubai, ruled out of octagon debut at UFC 254". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  31. ^ "UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje". Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved 2020-07-30.