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UFC 254 Odds & Expert Picks: Can Khabib Stay Undefeated?

The final fight card in the latest trip to Fight Island is UFC 254, headlined by the lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje. The UFC 254 odds have Nurmagomedov as the favorite and Gaethje as the underdog.

This event, wrapping up five weeks in Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, aka Fight Island, will take place on Saturday, October 24, in the afternoon. We have a full event preview and the UFC 254 odds here.

It has been just over a year since we saw Nurmagomedov (28-0) compete when he defended his lightweight strap with a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier. “The Eagle” was scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson in the cursed fight that eventually was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The man who did fight Ferguson, though, was Gaethje and he handed El Cucuy his first loss in eight years. With that, “The Highlight” earned his title shot. Since back-to-back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, Gaethje has gone on a run of four straight knockout wins.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released the UFC 254 betting odds and in the main event, Nurmagomedov is a sizable -335 favorite with Gaethje coming back as a +255 underdog.

This means you would have to wager $335 to profit $100 with a Nurmagomedov win, while a $100 bet on Gaethje would profit you $255. You can find out all of your potential winnings with our sports betting calculator.

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UFC 254 Odds

  • Lightweight Championship – Khabib Nurmagomedov (-335) vs Justin Gaethje (+255)
  • Middleweight – Robert Whittaker (-115) vs Jared Cannonier (-115)
  • Heavyweight – Alexander Volkov (-185) vs Walt Harris (+150)
  • Middleweight - Phil Hawes (-260) vs Jacob Malkoun (+200)
  • Women’s Flyweight - Lauren Murphy (-200) vs Liliya Shakirova (+160)
  • Light Heavyweight – Magomed Ankalaev (-310) vs Ion Cutelaba (+240)
  • Prelims
  • Heavyweight – Stefan Struve (-110) vs Tai Tuivasa (-120)
  • Bantamweight – Nathaniel Wood (+145) vs Casey Kenney (-175)
  • Welterweight - Alex Oliveira (-110) vs Shavkat Rakhmonov (-120)
  • Light Heavyweight - Da Un Jung (-350) vs Sam Alvey (+265)
  • Lightweight - Joel Alvarez (-170) vs Alexander Yakovlev (+140)
  • Women’s Flyweight - Liana Jojua (+325) vs Miranda Maverick (-450)

New to betting on the fights? Check out our UFC betting guide to get you in the action. Also, keep an eye on our UFC odds page for the latest up-to-date UFC betting lines.

UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje Broadcast Information

  • Date/Time: October 24, 10:15 a.m. ET
  • Location: Yas Island (Fight Island), Abu Dhabi
  • Arena: Flash Forum
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+/PPV

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje Odds

FighterOdds
Khabib Nurmagomedov-335
Justin Gaethje+255

Will Justin Gaethje (+255) be the one to hand Khabib Nurmagomedov (-335) the first loss of his pro career? The Highlight has been more active recently, having two fights since we last saw the Eagle in action. Gaethje knocked out Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson, while Nurmagomedov suffered a loss outside of the cage when his famed father passed away this summer, which could prove to provide more motivation for the champ.


Nurmagomedov: Need to Knows
  • The Eagle is a perfect 28-0 walking into the Octagon with 18 finishes, including his two title defenses against Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
  • He is an outstanding wrestler, averaging 5.35 takedowns per 15 minutes, and that’s matched with excellent conditioning that allows him to continue pushing a crazy pace for the duration of the bout.
  • When he gets the fight to the floor, he “smashes” opponents – in his words – by constantly working wrist control so that he can get a free hand to punch them until it opens up a submission opportunity.
  • Nurmagomedov gets some criticism on the feet, though he and McGregor stood for most of the third round of their fight, and although Khabib lost the round, he wasn’t in danger. Additionally, in the fifth round vs Al Iaquinta, Nurmagomedov simply stuck to his jab and avoided much damage, showing that he’s capable of surviving on his feet.
  • Nurmagomedov’s last three fights were Al Iaquinta (win – unanimous decision), Conor McGregor (win – submission) and Dustin Poirier (win – submission).


Gaethje: Need to Knows
  • Gaethje flew under the radar for much of his career as he spent plenty of time in World Series of Fighting, where he put together a 17-0 record (15 stoppages) before getting a UFC contract.
  • Of The Highlight’s 22 pro victories, 20 have been finishes, 19 by knockout and one by submission. His two losses were also knockouts. He has landed a total of zero takedowns and has shot for just as many, though he has been taken down twice in his seven-fight UFC career.
  • He is all about getting into brawls, landing 7.74 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 8.37. He had a much more measured approach in his win over Ferguson and you could see him trying to be more of a counterpuncher while picking away with leg kicks.
  • At times he can be caught absorbing strikes without firing back and becoming a bit of a punching bag, but he knows when he lands a good shot and goes on the attack. He has great takedown defense, stuffing 80 percent of attempts, and that’s where this fight will be won or lost.
  • Gaethje’s last three fights were Edson Barboza (win – knockout), Donald Cerrone (win – knockout) and Tony Ferguson (win – knockout).

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-335) via submission

Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier Odds

FighterOdds
Robert Whittaker-115
Jared Cannonier-115

Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has already pointed to Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (-115) as the next to challenge for his title if Cannonier can get past his next fight. That’s a big IF as the man standing across from him is the man that Adesanya took the belt from, Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (-115), who returned to the win column in July against Darren Till one fight after losing his gold.


Whittaker: Need to Knows
  • Prior to losing the belt, The Reaper had been on a nine-fight winning streak over five years, scoring four knockout wins over that span.
  • Whittaker has great striking defense, absorbing just 3.43 significant strikes per minute and making his foes miss 61 percent of their strike attempts. He has outstruck 12 of his 15 UFC opponents.
  • He is a patient striker, looking to stay on the outside and counter his opponent, chipping away with kicks as he tries to draw out an attack. When he lets his hands fly, he has great crisp combinations and he moves when he throws to further his elusiveness. At times, though, he can rush into the pocket with his chin exposed.
  • Whittaker’s last three opponents were Yoel Romero (win – split decision), Israel Adesanya (loss – knockout) and Darren Till (win – unanimous decision).


Cannonier: Need to Knows
  • Cannonier has had a transition right in front of our eyes, formerly fighting at heavyweight, then at light heavyweight and now finding his home at middleweight. He is 3-0 in his new weight class with three knockouts.
  • The Killa Gorilla had been outstruck in four of his seven fights before going to middleweight but has outstruck all three opponents in his new weight class. He only absorbs 2.82 significant strikes per minute and makes his opponents miss 66 percent of their attacks.
  • He is a big, strong middleweight with really powerful kicks and a good stiff jab. Cannonier can be chipped away at distance as he tends to really close the distance before he throws a strike. But when he lands, it’s big trouble for his opponent, specifically the lower leg kick.
  • Cannonier’s last three fights were David Branch (win – knockout), Anderson Silva (win – knockout) and Jack Hermansson (win – knockout).

Prediction: Robert Whittaker (-115) via decision

See UFC 254 Odds

Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris Odds

FighterOdds
Alexander Volkov-185
Walt Harris+150

These are two heavyweights looking to return to the win column after tasting defeat their last time out. For Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris (+150), his knockout loss to Alistair Overeem in May ended his four-fight unbeaten streak that included three knockout wins. Meanwhile, Alexander “Drago” Volkov (-185) has been on a win-one, lose-one streak over his last four fights, most recently losing by decision to Curtis Blaydes in June.


Volkov: Need to Knows
  • Perhaps the best pure boxer in the heavyweight division is Drago, using his long six-foot-seven frame to jab and kick his opponent from long distance.
  • Volkov has outstruck six of his seven UFC opponents, averaging 4.65 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.53. His takedown defense was exposed in his last fight vs Curtis Blaydes, being brought to the floor 14 times.
  • He likes to keep fights in kickboxing range as he chips away with kicks looking for opportunities to let his hands go. He has great conditioning that makes him dangerous for the duration of the fight and his counters are extremely accurate and powerful.
  • Volkov’s last three fights were Derrick Lewis (loss – knockout), Greg Hardy (win – unanimous decision) and Curtis Blaydes (loss – unanimous decision).


Harris: Need to Knows
  • The Big Ticket has big power, with all 13 of his pro wins coming by knockout. He has been outstruck in six of his 14 UFC bouts but he needs just the one punch to end the fight.
  • Harris looks to back his opponent against the cage with plenty of feints and his jab. Once he has his foe where he wants him, he opens up with a flurry of fast powerful strikes. His tempo slows significantly as the rounds progress and he becomes vulnerable to being picked apart.
  • Harris’ last three fights were Sergey Spivak (win – knockout), Alexei Oleinik (win – knockout) and Alistair Overeem (loss – knockout).

Prediction: Alexander Volkov (-185) via decision

Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes Betting Odds

FighterOdds
Jacob Malkoun+200
Phil Hawes-260

Set to make his UFC debut on a big PPV stage is Jacob “Mamba” Malkoun (+200) as he looks to keep his perfect 4-0 record intact. He will be taking on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series standout Phil “Megatron” Hawes (-260), who is riding a four-fight winning streak of his own.


Malkoun: Need to Knows
  • Half of Mamba’s four pro wins have been finishes; he has two knockout wins and two decision victories.
  • Malkoun works well behind his lead left hand, constantly picking away at his opponent with that jab before he fires his heavier right hand over the top. He is also quite strong in the clinch and has good takedowns, usually looking to secure a takedown and then work some heavy ground and pound.
  • Malkoun’s last three fights were Ryan Heketa (win – knockout), Christophe Van Dijck (win – knockout) and Sebastian Temesi (win – unanimous decision).


Hawes: Need to Knows
  • The first appearance on DWTNCS didn’t go as planned for Hawes as he was knocked out in the second round. However, in September, he redeemed himself with a first-round knockout leading to a contract from Dana White.
  • All eight pro wins have been finishes, six of them coming in the first round.
  • Hawes already has wins in World Series of Fighting and Bellator. Megatron moves forward with bad intentions, throwing powerful kicks and heavy overhand punches. That said, he also has good wrestling skills to go along with his powerful strikes.
  • Hawes’ last three fights were Dominic Schober (win – submission), Yuri Fraga (win – knockout) and Khadzhimurat Bestaev (win – knockout).

Prediction: Phil Hawes (-260) via knockout

Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova Betting Odds

FighterOdds
Lauren Murphy-200
Liliya Shakirova+160

Liliya Shakirova (+160) has stepped up on late notice to make her UFC debut after Cynthia Calvillo tested positive for the coronavirus. Shakirova has won her last three fights and looks to continue her winning ways against Lauren “Lucky” Murphy (-200), who also is on a three-fight winning streak.


Murphy: Need to Knows
  • The start of Murphy’s UFC career didn’t go as planned. She dropped four of six bouts but has figured something out recently, winning three in a row.
  • On the feet, Lucky enjoys getting in the pocket to exchange hands, often smiling as she goes shot for shot with her opponent. She does a good job throwing straight punches but tends to leave them long, opening her up to get countered.
  • She uses her grappling to complement her striking, averaging 1.14 takedowns per 15 minutes, and her top control is quite strong.
  • Murphy’s last three fights were Mara Romero Borella (win – knockout), Andrea Lee (win – split decision) and Roxanne Modafferi (win – unanimous decision).


Shakirova: Need to Knows
  • Overall, Shakirova holds an 8-1 record with half of her pro wins coming by finish, three by knockout and one by submission. Her lone defeat came via unanimous decision.
  • She used to compete in freestyle wrestling prior to switching to MMA. In striking range, she typically looks to back her opponents up with forwarding pressure, kicks and pawing jabs. Once her foe is near the cage, she will level change for a takedown.
  • Shakirova is very fast, especially with her kicks, though she tends to overextend on her punches. She also has good takedowns with slams and trips but her submission skills aren’t overly threatening.
  • Shakirova’s last three fights were Aigul Khabirova (win – knockout), Mariya Artyukhina (win – split decision) and Aygul Abduvakhid (win – knockout).

Prediction: Liliya Shakirova (+160) via decision

Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba Odds

FighterOdds
Magomed Ankalaev-310
Ion Cutelaba+240

I hesitate to even write this preview as this fight originally took place in February at UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs Figueiredo and this happened…

Obviously controversial, was Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba (+240) playing a little cat-and-mouse trying to drag Magomed Ankalaev (-310) in or was he in fact hurt and wobbled? Given the controversy, they were rebooked for UFC 249 in April, then the coronavirus postponed the event.

They were rescheduled for UFC 252, but Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19. They then were rescheduled for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Rakic, but once again Cutelaba tested positive. So here we are with another shot at these two coming together – maybe don’t hold your breath.


Ankalaev: Need to Knows
  • Ankalaev enters this fight on a four-fight winning streak, including three knockout wins. Outside of a last-second mistake against Paul Craig that led to a submission, he would be undefeated.
  • The Russia native has outstanding striking. He has outstruck all five of his opponents in the UFC, averaging 3.46 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 1.24. He lands 56 percent of his strikes and makes his foes miss 67 percent of theirs.
  • He is extremely light on his feet and he does a good job pressuring his opponents, always feinting and trying to learn their movements before going on the attack. He does tend to reach out at his foes when they engage with him, which leaves him open to overhand strikes.
  • Ankalaev’s last three fights were Klidson Abreu (win – unanimous decision), Dalch Lungiambula (win – knockout) and Ion Cutelaba (win – knockout).


Cutelaba: Need to Knows
  • Don’t expect a Cutelaba fight to reach the judges’ scorecards – 18 of his 20 pro fights have ended in stoppages and 15 of those saw his hand raised, with 12 knockouts, two submissions and one decision.
  • The Moldova native known as the Hulk is violence personified, averaging 5.29 significant strikes per minute and 2.26 takedowns per 15 minutes.
  • He is very aggressive, constantly throwing powerful strikes at his opponents, and he mixes them very well with kicks, knees and punches. With this output, though, his conditioning is an issue and he slows significantly after about three minutes of all-out aggression.
  • Cutelaba’s last three fights were Glover Teixeira (loss – submission), Khalil Rountree (win – knockout) and Magomed Ankalaev (loss – knockout).

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev (-310) via knockout

UFC 254 Odds & Predictions

FighterOdds
Lightweight - Khabib Nurmagomedov-335
Middleweight - Robert Whittaker-115
Heavyweight - Alexander Volkov-185
Middleweight - Phil Hawes-260
Women’s Flyweight - Liliya Shakirova+160
Light Heavyweight - Magomed Ankalaev-310