UFC 254 has started: The prelims are underway, and the main event is imminent. With the exception of a few stragglers, the fighters have made weight and we're good to go. At the top of the card is arguably the biggest fight of 2020: A complete banger in every sense of the word. A lightweight unification contest between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
From a styles standpoint, it could be the most compelling match-up of the year.
Read more at CBS Sports: UFC 254 live updates
In one corner we have Nurmagomedov: The most dominant champion in UFC history. With a record of 28-0, he's only lost one round in his entire MMA career -- against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 -- and has dominated almost every other second he's been in the octagon.
In the other corner, possibly his nightmare match-up. Justin Gaethje is not just a technical brawler with concrete slabs for hands (and maybe the best leg kicks in MMA) he's also a world class wrestler. The consensus is Gaethje has a better chance than anyone to keep this fight on the feet and out of Nurmagomedov's comfort zone -- who likes to take opponent down and wreck them with ground and pound till they're sapped of life and energy. If you want further insight into this match-up, you can't do better than Inside The Octagon with Dan Hardy. Great show, great insight.
If you want a little more information on the fight and the backstory leading up to the contest, I recommend UFC Countdown.
UFC 254's undercard is pretty light, with the exception of one fight: A middleweight contest between former champ Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. That one will be an absolute banger so don't miss it. Whittaker is one of the best UFC middleweights ever and Cannonier has been a wrecking ball in the last couple of years. The winner will most likely face off against current champ Israel Adesanya, so tune in.
How to watch UFC 254
This year the UFC entered a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you're one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.
In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 254, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site.
- Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can order the upcoming UFC fight for $65.
- Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch the UFC event on PPV for $65 by itself.
- New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $85. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will auto-renew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription at the time of auto-renewal.
You can do all of the above at the link below.
MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 254 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 254 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation 4 or using the UFC app on your Xbox One.
This is a weird one. Normally UFC events have the same start times, this time round it's absolutely topsy turvy so pay close attention to the times below. For those in other regions, the UFC has a great list of start times.
- The main card starts Oct. 24, 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT).
- The prelims start Oct. 24, 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT).
- The early prelims start Oct. 24, 10.15 a.m. ET (7.15 a.m. PT).
- The main card starts Oct. 24, 7 p.m. BST.
- The prelims start Oct. 24, 5 p.m. BST.
- The early prelims start Oct 24, 3.15 BST.
- The main card starts Oct. 25, 5 a.m. AEDT.
- The prelims start Oct. 25, 3 a.m. AEDT.
- The early prelims start Oct. 25, 1.15 a.m. AEDT.
This card is subject to change. We'll try and keep updated as much as possible.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje,
- Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
- Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
- Jacob Malhoun vs. Phil Hawes
- Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lauren Murphy
- Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
- Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa
- Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
- Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rahkmonov
- Da-un Ung vs. Sam Alvey
- Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
- Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev