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One of the more highly anticipated championship affairs in recent memory is now official for Saturday.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will end its second stint on “Fight Island” with its biggest fight yet as lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will unify titles with interim titleholder Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The 12-fight card is now official after the weigh-ins took place, but it was not without some drama. Both Alex Oliveira and Joel Alvarez missed weight for their respective bouts.
Nurmagomedov (28-0) has been open about wanting to retire once he reaches an MMA record of 30-0, so it appears the Dagestani fighter's days inside the Octagon are numbered. It's been a historic run for "The Eagle," who has blazed through competition with ease for the most part. Nurmagomedov last fought last year, when he submitted Dustin Poirier in the third round. While the champion needed the towel to make weight, he managed to hit 155 pounds on the dot.
Looking to dethrone Nurmagomedov and make history for himself is Gaethje (22-2). The Arizona native had a disappointing start to his UFC career, getting knocked out by both Poirier and Eddie Alvarez after a successful debut. However, he's been in top form since then knocking out four foes in a row including former top contender Tony Ferguson, which netted "The Highlight" an interim belt. Gaethje stepped on the scales and made 155 pounds without any issue.
UFC 254 has a much earlier start time than normal. To catch the early prelims, fans will need to hop on ESPN+ or UFC Fight Pass at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. Action then continues on ESPN+ and ESPN2 at noon E.T/9 a.m. PT. and the main card will air on ESPN+ pay-per-view starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
UFC 254 Weigh-in Results:Khabib Nurmagomedov (155) vs. Justin Gaethje (155)
Jared Cannonier (185) vs. Robert Whittaker (186)
Walt Harris (254) vs. Alexander Volkov (265)
Phil Hawes (186) vs. Jacob Malkoun (186)
Lauren Murphy (126) vs. Liliya Shakirova (126)
Magomed Ankalaev (205) vs. Ion Cutelaba (205.5)
Stefan Struve (265) vs. Tai Tuivasa (265)
Casey Kenney (140) vs. Nathaniel Wood (140)
Alex Oliveira (173)* vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (171)
Sam Alvey (206) vs. Da Un Jung (206)
Liana Jojua (126) vs. Miranda Maverick (126)
Joel Alvarez (159.5)** vs. Alexander Yakovlev (155.5)
* Oliveira missed weight by 2 pounds and has been fined 20 percent of his purse.
** Alvarez missed weight by 3.5 pounds and has been fined 30 percent of his purse.
Three backup fighters also made weight: Michael Chandler (155), Sergey Morozov (139.5) and Isi Fitikefu (203.5).
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