UFC 254 is finally upon us! Long-time lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov will attempt to unify the division for the second time in as many fights when he takes on interim titleholder Justin Gaethje in tonight’s main event. Who’ll emerge the winner? Let’s see what the LowKickMMA staff think…

Jordan Ellis: As this fight creeps closer I feel more definite in my backing of Khabib Nurmagomedov. ‘The Eagle’ is clearly a sensational fighter with a game that no-one has been able to figure out as of yet. While Justin Gaethje is game and apparently has brilliant wrestling, I just don’t see him being able to keep Khabib off of him. I expect the Russian to get the takedown as he often does and ultimately pick up a submission win in the mid to late rounds at UFC 254.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Abhinav Kini: Justin Gaethje has said a lot in the buildup that has somewhat persuaded me to believe he can do what no other fighter has done to Khabib Nurmagomedov. But despite that and his overall wrestling credentials, MMA wrestling is a whole other story and I feel Nurmagomedov will be able to take and keep Gaethje down. The grappling exchanges should be interesting but I still see this going the way of the champion who should go 29-0. Khabib by unanimous decision.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Karim Nathan: I believe that Gaethje 100% is the toughest ever challenge for Khabib, he has heavy hands and mixed in with his fight IQ and wrestling credentials he has the potential to cause Khabib problems, however saying that I still believe that Khabib will be relentless with his takedowns and eventually get it and control Gaethje on the ground. Going with a Khabib win via unanimous decision

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Harry O’Connor: Gaethje is Khabib’s toughest opponent on paper, hands down. Up until a few days ago I thought he may have a chance to win. I just can’t go against Khabib, I’ve never seen anyone dominate people the way he does. It’s inevitable he’s going to get Justin against the fence and take him down, once he’s down, Justin begins to get tired and Khabib starts to go through the levels with the ground and pound, I think Khabib will submit Gaethje in the second round.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Ryan MacCarthy: I believe Khabib walks away 29-0 after a 4th round submission victory. The 1st round will tell us everything.If Justin can use his footwork, use wrestling in the open, I think Justin might be able to outwrestle him in the open. But against the fence, I don’t think so. If Justin can cut Khabib up and land strikes on him in the 1st round then we are in for quite a battle. But if Khabib gets Gaethje up against the fence, then Gaethje could be in for a long night. What isnt talked about enough is how Gaethje was an all American wrestler in college. He is no slouch and we’ll have to see how his takedown defense is. But he is also no Khabib. Khabib can do it against the best wrestlers in the world, regardless of size. It’s a dangerous fight for both guys. But I believe, if I have to put my money on someone, of course you cannot bet against Khabib. His pedigree speaks for itself.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.