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Saturday Oct 24 2020
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Khabib vs Gaethje: MMA world set for blockbuster fight tonight at UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov (L) will take on Justin Gaethje (R) tonight in Abu Dhabi. — Twitter/UFC

The mixed martial arts (MMA) world is set for a blockbuster fight as Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov is scheduled to take on United States' Justin Gaethje tonight at Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, also called the Fight Island, in the main event of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 254.

Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, who has never been defeated in his pro MMA career, boasts a perfect 28-0 record, which also includes his humiliating defeat of Irish fighter Conor McGregor in 2019.

The 32-year-old Russian is one of the finest grapplers to ever grace the sport and that advantage has also made him arguably the most dominant champion seen in UFC history.

While 28 men have tried to get the better of Nurmagomedov, the 29th man, Gaethje, has a blend of skills that might just be the perfect one to tame the bearded Dagestani.

Gaethje (22-2) has his roots in wrestling and is a former NCAA Division I All-American. To go with his solid ground game, he has grown extremely skilled and comfortable with his boxing, and won his last fight over Tony Ferguson while purely standing up.

The American has also been active this year, while Nurmagomedov hasn't fought since last year.

Furthermore, rumours have it that Nurmagomedov had a difficult weight cut and looked anything but comfortable at the weigh-ins, giving hope to Gaethje fans.

Trash talk and pre-fight hype

Neither Nurmagomedov nor Gaethje have made even the slightest bit of McGregor-style effort to hype up the fight or say mean things — something seen so often in the sport.

What Nurmagomedov has been saying:

What has Gaethje been saying:

Prediction

It could be the toughest fight of Khabib Nurmagomedov's career and we can expect him to be pushed to the limits but also expect him to find a way.

Nurmagomedov, who is a 1:3 favourite, gets the split decision after five rounds of dog fight.