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Opponents Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia and Justin Gaethje face off during the UFC 254 press conference at Yas Beach on October 21, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Fight Coverage

UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje Results

All The Big Winners From Flash Forum On UFC Fight Island

UFC wraps up its second run on UFC FIGHT ISLAND with one of the most anticipated bouts of the year as UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje battle to unify the belts. In the co-main event, former middleweight champion and No. 1 ranked Robert Whittaker takes on No. 3 Jared Cannonier in a pivotal bout with title implications. 

Undefeated champion Nurmagomedov (28-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) looks to put on another dominant performance and once again prove he is the best lightweight on the planet. Nurmagomedov is currently tied for the longest active win streak in the UFC with an impressive 12 victories in a row, which includes finishes over former champion Conor McGregor and former interim champion Dustin Poirier. He now seeks to extend his streak to 13 with a statement performance over Gaethje and make his case as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

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Gaethje (22-2, fighting out of Arvada, Colo.) has become a fan favorite for the relentless and entertaining fight style that has earned him nine UFC post-fight bonuses in just seven fights. A proven finisher with a remarkable 20 of his 22 wins coming by stoppage, Gaethje rose through the lightweight ranks with knockouts over Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson. He now looks to realize his ultimate goal of attaining the undisputed UFC lightweight championship by becoming the first person to defeat Nurmagomedov.

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What Time Is UFC 254?

Main Card: 2pm ET / 11am PT on ESPN+

Prelims: 12pm ET / 9am PT on ESPN,  ESPN+and ESPN Deportes

Early Prelims: 11am ET / 8 am PT on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass

UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje Early Prelims

Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev

Spanish up and comer Joel Alvarez scored his third consecutive win in the lightweight opener, submitting Alexander Yakovlev in the first round.

After taking a series of leg kicks from Alvarez, Yakovlev shot in for a takedown, only to get caught in a guillotine choke momentarily. Once he pulled loose, the Russian went to work, but Alvarez stayed busy from his back, locking in the armbar that forced a tap out at 3:00 of round one.

With the win, Alvarez, who missed weight for the bout at 159.5 pounds, moves to 18-2. Yakovlev falls to 24-10-1.

UFC 254 Highlight: Alvarez Submits Yakovlev
UFC 254 Highlight: Alvarez Submits Yakovlev

Official Result: Joel Alvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev by submission (armbar) at 3:00 of Round 1

Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick 

Highly touted flyweight prospect Miranda Maverick made a successful UFC debut, halting Liana Jojua in the first round.

Jojua had some success early with her right hand, but Maverick adjusted and attacked with a variety of strikes, keeping the pressure on throughout. Jojua didn’t back down, but an elbow to the nose opened up a nasty cut that the corner wasn’t able to close between rounds, prompting a doctor’s stoppage at the 5:00 mark of round one.

With the win, Maverick moves to 10-2. Jojua falls to 8-4.

UFC 254: Miranda Maverick Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Miranda Maverick Post-Fight Interview

Official Result: Miranda Maverick def. Liana Jojua by TKO at 5:00 of Round 1

UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje Prelims

Top Finishes: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Top Finishes: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Da-un Ung vs Sam Alvey 

Light heavyweights Da-un Jung and Sam Alvey delivered an entertaining three-round striking battle, with the judges rendering a draw verdict when it was all over.
Scores were 29-28 Jung, 29-28 Alvey and 28-28.  
Alvey (33-14-1, 1 NC) was busier than he has been in recent fights, allowing him to have several good moments in the first two rounds, including a hard left hand with two minutes left in the opening frame that jarred Jung briefly. Jung’s forward march remained steady throughout, and while he had his moments, he paid for his aggressiveness as Alvey stayed busy and landed plenty of counters.
Thirty seconds into the final round, Jung (13-2-1) dropped Alvey with a right elbow, but the Californian got back to his feet quickly. Jung kept the pressure on his now bloodied foe, yet Alvey landed some uppercuts that let his foe know that he wasn’t done yet. Midway through the round, though, Jung rocked Alvey with another elbow. After a spell in the clinch, a third thudding elbow landed, but Alvey took it and made it to the final horn.
Official Result: Da-un Jung and Sam Alvey fought to a three-round draw (29-28 Jung, 29-28 Alvey, 28-28)

Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rahkmonov

Many wondered if Shavkat Rakhmonov was biting off more than he could chew by taking on Brazilian veteran Alex Oliveira in his first UFC bout. He wasn’t, as the Kazakhstan native submitted “Cowboy” in the first round of their welterweight bout.
Oliveira was Oliveira in the early going of the fight, but after he caught a knee to the body with  a little over three minutes to go in the opening round, it changed his strategy as he attempted to stay close with his foe against the fence. That was no problem for Rakhmonov, who locked in the guillotine choke that ended matters at 4:40 of round one.
With the win, Rakhmonov moves to 13-0. Oliveira, who missed weight for the fight at 173 pounds, falls to 22-9-1, 2 NC.

UFC 254 Highlight: Rakhmonov Submits Oliveira
UFC 254 Highlight: Rakhmonov Submits Oliveira

Official Result: Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Alex Oliveira by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:40 of Round 1

Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney 

Top bantamweight prospects Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood battled it out at a 140-pound catchweight for three action-packed rounds, with Kenney earning his second win of the month via unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Kenney, now 16-2-1. Wood falls to 17-5.
The bout was fought at a frenetic pace in the first round, both fighters throwing everything in their arsenals at each other. Kenney had the edge in the opening frame as he landed the harder and more telling punches and kicks, but Wood evened the score in the second as the Arizonan began to tire and the Brit stayed busy offensively while tightening up his defense. 
Kenney brought some of his grappling into the mix in the final frame, which added to his point total, and while the action level stayed high, it was the American who edged it out.

UFC 254: Casey Kenney Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Casey Kenney Post-Fight Interview

Official Result: Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa 

Australian banger Tai Tuivasa ended his three-fight losing streak in impressive style, halting longtime heavyweight standout Stefan Struve in the first round.
Tuivasa looked like a different fighter for much of the first round, as he stayed busy and handled himself well in the clinch, avoiding any trouble from his much-taller foe. But in the closing seconds, the old “Bam Bam” resurfaced, as he caught Struve, sensed the Netherlands native was hurt, and he finished matters with a series of hard shots. The official time of referee Jason Herzog’s stoppage was 4:59 of round one.
With the win, Tuivasa moves to 11-3. Struve falls to 33-13.
Official Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Stefan Struve by KO at 4:59 of Round 1

UFC 254: Tai Tuivasa Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Tai Tuivasa Post-Fight Interview

UFC 254 Khabib vs Gaethje Main Card

Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba

There was no controversy in the light heavyweight rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba, with Ankalaev opening the main card with a definitive first-round knockout victory to move to 2-0 against his rival.
In stark contrast to their first bout in February, the fight began at a downright sedate pace, with Cutelaba chasing and Ankalev waiting to strike. With 1:10 left, Ankalaev scored a flash knockdown of the Moldovan, and that was the beginning of the end, as the Russian nailed Cutelaba with a right-left combination that dropped him hard to the canvas. A follow-up barrage of ground strikes put an end to matters, with referee Anders Ohlsson stepped in at 4:19 of the first round.
With the win, the No.11-ranked Ankalaev moves to 14-1. Cutelaba falls to 15-6 with 1 NC.
Official Result: Magomed Ankalaev def. Ion Cutelaba by KO at 4:19 of Round 1

UFC 254: Magomed Ankalaev Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Magomed Ankalaev Post-Fight Interview

Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova

Veteran flyweight contender Lauren Murphy made the most of her first pay-per-view main card spot, as she submitted Octagon newcomer Liliya Shakirova in the second round.
Uzbekistan’s Shakirova fought well throughout the bout, but Murphy was patient and a step ahead, and after working her striking in the opening round, she took the fight to the mat in the second. And once on the mat, she took Shakirova’s back and sunk in a rear naked choke, with the tap out coming at 3:31 of round two.
With the win, the No. 5-ranked Murphy, who has won four straight, moves to 14-4. Shakirova who replaced Cynthia Calvillo, falls to 8-2.
Official Result: Lauren Murphy def. Liliya Shakirova by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:31 of Round 1

UFC 254: Lauren Murphy Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Lauren Murphy Post-Fight Interview

Jacob Malkoun vs Phillip Hawes

It was a long trip to the Octagon for Phillip Hawes, but once he got these, he needed less than 30 seconds to stop previously unbeaten Jacob Malkoun.
Hawes went on the offensive immediately, and once he landed a right hand on the Aussie, it was game over, with a combination of punches sending Malkoun down and out, with referee Jason Herzog halting the bout at 18 seconds of the opening round.
With the win, Hawes moves to 9-2. Malkoun falls to 4-1.
Official Result: Phillip Hawes def. Jacob Malkoun by KO at 4:19 of Round 1

UFC 254: Phil Hawes Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Phil Hawes Post-Fight Interview

Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris

In a clash of heavyweight contenders, Alexander Volkov was in top form as he stopped Walk Harris in the second round.
With the heavyweights slinging leather, it felt like any blow landed could be a finisher. Harris got in plenty of shots in the first round, it was Volkov who did the better work, nearly stopping the fight with a left hand that rocked Harris before the Alabama native fired back and got back in the fray.
In the second, Harris got nailed with a kick to the body that provoked a visible reaction from “The Big Ticket,” and as he staggered backward, Volkov unloaded with his punches, and that brought in referee Lucasz Bosacki to halt the bout at the 1:15 mark of round two. 
With the win, the No. 7-ranked Volkov moves to 32-8. The No. 10-ranked Harris falls to 13-9, 1 NC.
Official Result: Alexander Volkov def. Walt Harris by TKO at 1:15 of Round 2

UFC 254: Alexander Volkov Post-Fight Interview
UFC 254: Alexander Volkov Post-Fight Interview

Co-Main Event: Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker logged a disciplined and effective performance in winning a close, but unanimous, decision over Jared Cannonier in the UFC 254 co-main event.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for the No. 1-ranked Whittaker, now 23-5. The No. 2-ranked Cannonier falls to 13-5.
Both fighters had positive moments in an interesting first round, Whittaker using his movement while mixing up his attacks, while Cannonier chopped at his foe’s leg with frightening efficiency.
Cannonier stuck to the game plan in the second, as he battered Whittaker’s leg, but the former champion largely controlled the action with a stiff jab and the occasional right hand, setting the stage for a pivotal third round.
Things went south quickly for Cannonier in the third when a combination capped off by a kick rocked the Arizonan, who was soon on the deck with Whittaker seeking a finish. With a little less than three minutes left, the battered Cannonier rose to his feet and tried to turn things around, and he nearly did when he rocked Whittaker with less than a minute to go. Whittaker smartly sought to grapple with his foe, allowing him to make it to the end of the bout.
Official Result: Robert Whittaker def. Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC 254: Robert Whittaker Octagon Interview
UFC 254: Robert Whittaker Octagon Interview

Main Event: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje

After a brutal year that saw him lose his father and see a high-profile fight scrapped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Khabib Nurmagomedov could finally exhale, as the UFC lightweight champion successfully defended his title with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje.
But his victory in the UFC 254 main event on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, one which lifted his perfect record to 29-0, was followed by a shocking announcement, as he announced his retirement at the age of 32.
“Today I want to say it was my last fight,” said Nurmagomedov, whose father Abdulmanap passed away in July. “In no way am I gonna come here without my father. After what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin, I talked with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to go fight without my father, but I promised her it’s gonna be my last fight. And if I give my word, I have to follow this.” 
After a brief feeling-out process, a fight broke out, with Numagomedov looking to close the distance while Gaethje landed some solid shots before getting out of grappling range. Nurmagomedov kept the pressure on, landing knees, kicks and punches. With a little over a minute to go, Gaethje scored with a hard combination, but moments later, Nurmagomedov had his takedown with 40 seconds left. The champion quickly moved into the mount position and almost caught his foe’s arm, but the horn intervened.
Gaethje focused on kicking Nurmagomedov’s leg early in round two, but Nurmagomedov responded with a fast takedown and an even faster move to the mount, where he locked in the triangle choke that ended the bout at 1:34 of the second stanza. 
It was the perfect end to a perfect career for “The Eagle.”
With the win, Nurmagomedov retires with a record of 29-0. Gaethje falls to 22-3.
Official Result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Justin Gaethje by submission (triangle choke) at 1:34 of Round 2

UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov Octagon Interview
UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov Octagon Interview