One of the most highly-anticipated main events of the year takes place at UFC 254 with Khabib Nurmagomedov battling Justin Gaethje.

Staff Writers
Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba
Murphy vs. Shakirova
Malkoun vs. Hawes
Volkov vs. Walt Harris
Whittaker vs. Cannonier
Khabib vs. Gaethje
Ryan Fortune (124-62)
Jay Anderson (120-66)
Joe McDonagh (103-71)
Josh Evanoff (101-73)
Mike McClory (48-35)
Gabriel Gonzalez (104-82)
Dan Doherty (99-82)
Justin Gibbons (82-68)
Eddie Law (69-65)

The unification of the lightweight title headlines UFC 254 as undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim champion Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov, arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, is an unbelievable 28-0 with submission wins over his last two opponents, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Since losing two straight fights in 2018, Gaethje has rattled off four straight knockouts, including a phenomenal performance against Tony Ferguson. All but two writers picked Nurmagomedov.

The co-main event features former champion Robert Whittaker seeking a title shot against streaking middleweight Jared Cannonier. Whittaker is looking to stay on the right track following his bounce-back win over Darren Till last time out. Since moving down to middleweight, Cannonier has stopped his three opponents, including top-10 contender Jack Hermansson. Whittaker was picked by six of nine writers.

Heavyweights square off on the main card as Alexander Volkov battles Walt Harris. Both men are looking to get back on track, with Volkov falling to Curis Blaydes last time out, and Harris getting stopped by Alistair Overeem. Harris was picked by six of nine writers.

Prospects battle it out as Jacob Malkoun fights Phil Hawes. Malkoun is a training partner of Whittaker, has a 4-0 record in MMA and an undefeated professional boxing record. Hawes was a former top prospect who slowed down after a loss to Andrew Sanchez on TUF followed by two losses in his next three fights. Since then, Hawes got back on track with four stoppages and the latest being on the Contender Series. All but one writer picked Hawes.

Top flyweight Lauren Murphy welcomes short notice opponent Liliya Shakirova to the UFC. Murphy is 4-1 since moving to flyweight and is currently on a three-fight win streak. Shakirova is 8-1 in her career. All but one writer picked Murphy.

Opening up the main card, finally, will be light heavyweights Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba. Their first battle eight months ago lasted a blistering 38 seconds, with Ankalaev getting a controversial TKO stoppages. Since then, the fight has been rescheduled four times, with it finally sticking this time around. Cutelaba was picked by six of nine writers.


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