UFC 254 is the final event from the premier MMA promotions current stay on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. In the main event, we have the biggest fight of 2020 as lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov attempts to unify the 155lb division for the second time in as many fights against interim titleholder Justin Gaethje.
Prior to that the former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will look to earn another crack at UFC gold when he takes on top 185lb contender Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of the evening.
Join LowKickMMA, the best UFC betting site as we preview the six UFC 254 main card fights. We’ll be looking at the odds, predicting the winner in each scrap, and hopefully winning some money come fight night.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
It really doesn’t get bigger than this. Khabib Nurmagomedov is not only one of the most dominant fighters of all time. The 28-0 lightweight champion is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in MMA history. He’s of course the favourite heading into the UFC 254 main event at odds of -350. For anyone backing the Russian, it’s not the greatest odds, so you’ll have to add him to a parlay, that’s what we’ll be doing. Nurmagomedov has shown no weaknesses. He should be able to implement his aggressive wrestling game to beat Justin Gaethje this coming weekend. ‘The Highlight’ has heavy hands and elite-level wrestling – but he rarely uses it. At odds of +275, we can see why many fans will be betting on him this weekend, but we won’t be.
Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
The former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will look to continue his rise back into title contention against Jared Cannonier in a desperately difficult fight to pick. The bookmakers have been unable to split Whittaker and Cannonier with both men priced at -110. Ultimately, we’ve gone for Whittaker purely because he’s been there, done that, and has beaten better fighters than Cannonier on a fair few occasions. Cannonier is capable but yet to secure a win at this level, perhaps UFC 254 is the night the 36-year-old will get the biggest victory of his career.
Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
Another really tough fight to call. Long-time heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov heads into his bout with Walt Harris the favourite. The Russian is -175 to emerge victorious. We tend to agree with the bookmakers. Again, it’s largely down to the fact Volkov has been at the upper echelons of the heavyweight division for a while, beating the likes of former UFC champion Fabricio Wedrum. Harris is a very live dog at +150, but we just think Volkov will survive the early onslaught and ultimately pick off a tired Harris down the line.
Phil Hawes vs. Jacob Malkoun
A strange addition to the UFC 254 main card is up next. Tony Ferguson vs. Dustin Poirier, Yair Rodriguez vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov, and Islam Makhachev vs. Rafael Dos Anjos all fell off the biggest card of the year. So, who does the UFC decided to bump up? Two fighters set to make their promotional debuts. Phil Hawes is favourite, impressed recently on DWCS, and has much more experience than his opponent, so we’ll be backing him at odds of -275. Jacob Malkoun is still very young at 25 years old. He’s also fairly inexperienced with just four fights on his resume. Malkoun is unbeaten though so won’t just lay down, and at odds of +225 he could be worth a punt.
Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova
Long-time flyweight contender Lauren Murphy risks her ranking against UFC newcomer Liliya Shakirova this weekend. Murphy is a considerable favoruite at -250. Of course, we suggest betting on her to win but would also say approach this fight with caution. Relatively unknown fighters from eastern Europe have a knack for flourishing on the biggest stages. Don’t be too surprised if the +200 underdog Shakirova manages to pull off the upset in her UFC debut.
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
After a farcical first fight and several attempts to host the rematch, we will finally see this fight again (hopefully) at UFC 254. Magomed Ankalaev won the first fight in controversial circumstances. We expect him to do it again and it seems the oddsmakers agree – he’s priced at -333. This is one of the only fights on the card we are confident in predicting a method of victory. Ankalaev should be able to get this done inside the distance, betting on this will get you odds of -137. If you fancy Cutelaba to get revenge he’s available at +250.