UFC president Dana White has seemingly confirmed that UFC 254 on Fight Island will feature a special start time.
The plan appears to be for the UFC 254 card, which will be headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje for the UFC Lightweight Championship, to be broadcast in the afternoon in the United States – allowing for European fans to watch it in primetime.
This is similar to what the promotion did for UFC 242 which also took place in Abu Dhabi, and also featured Nurmagomedov in the main event where he defended his title against Dustin Poirier.
Dana White tells me #UFC254 will be held in european prime time at #UFCFightIsland2 so fans can see Khabib Nurmagomedov Vs. Justin Gaethje. Afternoon in American time like what they did on #UFC242 pic.twitter.com/Mvv9cOLsvh
— C. Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) September 9, 2020
With Fight Island’s last run of events all airing in primetime for the United States, it does seem as if this accommodation by White has been made for Nurmagomedov – perhaps to maximize the overseas PPV sales for UFC 254 as well as those back home.
Still, while Nurmagomedov may be the name on everyone’s lips heading into this event, that isn’t going to stop Justin Gaethje from trying to implement his own gameplan.
“You gotta self-defense. Without the footwork, you can’t stay out of the fence,” Gaethje said on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, breaking down his gameplan for his UFC 254 fight Nurmagomedov. “If he is taking a shot in the open then he will drive you down to the fence. He’s not gonna attempt takedowns in the open. You watch all of his fights. You’ll maybe see five takedowns that he attempted in the middle of the cage. He’ll start in the middle but he is too pushy towards the cage.”
Gaethje also opened up on his game plan for UFC 254 in a recent interview with ESPN.
“I’m so athletic,” he said. “The first thing to go when you get tired is your legs, so my legs, from now until then, I’m gonna be running a lot, jump rope a lot, a lot of step ups, squats.
“If my legs are in shape I don’t get tired,” Gaethje added. “If I don’t get tired I can get back up. If I can get back up, I can hit him like a truck. I only gotta kick him eight times in the calves before he’s compromised. There’s lot of factors. I’m gonna work on being me, stay in shape. It’s all cardio.”
UFC 254 is scheduled for October 24. Will you be watching?