October’s highly anticipated UFC 254: ‘Khabib vs Gaethje’ pay-per-view event could feature a live fan audience for the first time in months.
The blockbuster fight card is headlined by a lightweight title unification bout featuring undefeated division kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov taking on current interim title holder Justin Gaethje.
According to DCT’s destination marketing director Saeed Rashed Al Saeed, the promotion is currently studying how they can bring fans into the venue on October 24.
“We are currently studying how to bring fans into UFC 254,” Al Saeed told The Hotelier. “Right now we’re going through how to segregate fans from people inside the bubble but still get them inside the space in the safe manner.”
“If everything goes to plan we’ll be announcing this soon. It’s not confirmed yet but the plan is in place but it needs to be endorsed. I’m optimistic but health and safety cannot be compromised. That is our priority, it will not happen unless it is fool proof.”
Gaethje (22-2 MMA) is set to enter his showdown with Khabib at UFC 254 on a four-fight win streak, with all four of those victories coming by form of stoppage. In his most recent effort at UFC 249, ‘The Highlight‘ defeated Tony Ferguson by way of fifth round TKO to capture the promotions interim lightweight title.
Meanwhile, Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA) will be returning to action for the first time since losing his father Abdulmanap due to complications from Covid-19. ‘The Eagle’ most recently competed at UFC 242 in September of 2019, where he scored a submission victory over Dustin Poirier to retain his lightweight crown.
The co-main event of UFC 254: ‘Khabib vs Gaethje’ features a key middleweight battle between former division champion Robert Whittaker and surging contender Jared Cannonier.
Cannonier (13-4 MMA) will enter the event on a three-fight winning streak, his latest being a TKO victory over Jack Hermansson at UFC Copenhagen in September of 2019. Prior to defeating ‘The Joker’, Cannonier had earned TKO wins over former MMA champions in Anderson Silva and David Branch respectively.
Meanwhile, Robert Whittaker (21-5 MMA) will be looking to build off the momentum of his recent win over Darren Till when he squares off with Cannonier at UFC 254. The former middleweight champion is hoping that an impressive win over ‘The Killa Gorilla’ will earn him a rematch with Israel Adesanya.
UFC President Dana White has already confirmed that if Jared Cannonier can defeat Robert Whittaker on October 24, he will then receive the next title opportunity against reigning middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya.
Get the current UFC 254: ‘Khabib vs Gaethje’ main card lineup below:
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
Islam Makhachev vs. TBD
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lauren Murphy
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
UFC 254: ‘Khabib vs Gaethje’ takes place October 24 from Fight Island and features a special start time. Who are you picking to emerge victorious that evening? Share your thoughts in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on October 13, 2020