As the seconds tick away, the biggest UFC event of the year draws closer. Fans will get to see ‘The Eagle’ Khabib Nurmagomedov return after almost a year of inactivity. Given Nurmagomedov’s stature, it is natural for the focus to be solely on him and his opponent for the night. However, UFC 254 has many other points that fans may be unaware of. Here are some of them.
UFC 254 is the final fight island event for 2020
Interestingly, it Nurmagomedov’s withdrawal from the original UFC 249 which led to the UFC concocting the idea of Fight Island so that their international fighters could make a living during the pandemic.
Fight Island cards have heavily featured international fighters on each of the eight events that have emanated from ‘The Octagon on the Beach’. The likes of Petr Yan and Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 251), Israel Adesanya, Paulo Costa, and Jan Blachowicz (UFC 253), and former divisional challengers, Darren Till and Chan Sung Jung have all had the opportunity to stay active in 2020.
Barring any hiccups in the next two months, UFC 254 will be the company’s last offering from Abu Dhabi for the calendar year. The venue has attracted eyeballs all across the globe and revolutionized mixed martial arts. In the eyes of fans, it brought to life the events of Mortal Kombat and Enter the Dragon.
While White has labeled the venue as ‘The New Fight Capital of the World’, he understands that an extended run in the Middle East would strip the venue of its novelty. Hence, fans will hope that the final Fight Card ends with a bang and gives them many memories to remember until next time.
UFC 254 could set a record for the biggest PPV ever
The fight card has all the ingredients to help the company head back to the UFC Apex with a bang. Currently, the biggest PPV in UFC history is Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor at UFC 229. The event drew 2.4 million buys and handsomely beat the 1.6 million buys that UFC 196 received.
Earlier this week, White dropped a bombshell. He claimed the upcoming PPV was trending at a higher rate than the Conor vs Khabib event. The statement came four days before the event and the numbers will have risen exponentially as excitement reaches a fever pitch among fans.
The card has been shorn of its sheen, with the likes of Islam Makhachev and Rafael dos Anjos withdrawing. Furthermore, the likes of Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson did not make it to the card, despite an insane amount of murmurs that they would feature in the co-main event.
Nevertheless, ‘The Eagle’s’ presence single-handedly propels any event into the stratosphere. It showcases his immense drawing power, and White will hope that his final offering from Fight Island has the potential to knock the McGregor vs Mayweather PPV buy rate off the top spot in the overall standings.
Sixth UFC PPV to be held behind closed doors
The UFC returned to television screens almost half a year ago and is continuing to go strong. UFC 254 will be the company’s sixth PPV behind closed doors. They have embraced the new normal and have converted it into the norm with respect to live events.
An interesting fact about all five PPV events to be held since UFC 249 is that every single defending champion has retained the belt. This includes belt holders Henry Cejudo, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Alexander Volkanovski, Stipe Miocic, and Israel Adesanya who have vanquished their opponents in style. If this pattern holds on Saturday fans will see Khabib return to Russia with a 29-0 record.
UFC 254 can see many divisional records equaled or broken
‘The Eagle’ Khabib Nurmagomedov has had a storied tenure in the UFC. His dominance has been such that every fight has him on the verge of record-breaking, record-extending, or record-equalling achievements.
Justin Gaethje will seek to snap Khabib Nurmagomedov’s iconic streak. Furthermore, he will look to maintain his impressive UFC run of securing either a Performance of the Night bonus or a Fight of the Night bonus. At present, ‘The Highlight’ has claimed nine bonuses in nine fights since departing the WSOF.
Meanwhile, the co-main event will see Robert Whittaker return to the scene of his triumph over Darren Till. ‘The Reaper’ will fight Jared Cannonier in a virtual No.1 contender fight. Whittaker will be aiming for a first finish in nearly three years. Furthermore, if he secures the coveted Fight of the Night bonus, he will join Yoel Romero on second for the most middleweight Fight Night bonuses with eight.
Women’s flyweight fighter Lauren Murphy will equal divisional champion Valentina Shevchenko if she wins at UFC 254. Murphy has claimed four wins in the division and a triumph over Liliya Shakirova will see her join ‘Bullet’ and Katlyn Chookagian at five. Also, the fighter will go second behind Shevchenko’s active streak of five wins in succession.
Despite the pullouts and failed negotiations for certain fights, it is a massive event. Given the grandeur and everything at stake, fight fans are set to have a wonderful Saturday afternoon.
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