The UFC’s final event of its second Fight Island stint is set following the late-night (North American time) UFC 254 weigh-in from Abu Dhabi.
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was the first fighter to the scale, stripping down to hit 155 pounds on the nose. He’ll look to unify his belt with that of interim titleholder Justin Gaethje, who also weighed 155 pounds.
Khabib was initially slated to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 earlier this year, but the global coronavirus pandemic scuttled that fight. After Khabib was stuck in lockdown in Russia, Gaethje stepped in and defeated Ferguson for the interim belt at UFC 249 in May.
The UFC 254 co-main event features former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker squaring off with rising contender Jared Cannonier, who is staring at a title shot against current champion Israel Adesanya with a win.
Whittaker weighed in at 186 pounds for the fight, while Cannonier weighed 185 pounds.
Two UFC 254 fighters miss weight
Though Khabib and Gaethje made weight for their headlining bout, two other UFC 254 fighters missed the mark.
Alex Oliveira weighed 173 pounds for his preliminary welterweight bout opposite Shavkat Rakhmonov, who weighed 171 pounds. Oliveira was 2 pounds over the limit for the non-title fight. Oliveira will forfeit a portion of his fight purse to keep the bout on the fight card.
Joel Alvarez, who is slated to open the UFC 254 prelims, missed weight by 3.5 pounds. Alvarez weighed in early during the two-hour window. He will forfeit a portion of his fight purse in order to keep the fight with Alexander Yakovlev intact. Yakovlev weighed 155.5 pounds.
Several UFC 254 alternate fighters make weight
There were several alternate fighters that made weight ahead of Saturday’s bouts.
It was widely known that former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler was inked to be the back-up in case either Khabib or Gaethje couldn’t make it to the cage, which now seems unlikely. Chandler stepped on the scale at 155 pounds.
Sergey Morozov was initially slated to fight Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, but Nurmagomedov was forced out of the fight with a staph infection. Morozov was on hand and made weight as a back-up for the 140-pound catchweight bout between Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood. Kenney and Wood both made weight.
Whittaker teammate Isi Fitikefu also weighed in as an alternate at 203.5 pounds. According to MMA Fighting, one of Ion Cutelaba’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, so Fitikefu weighed in as a back-up to the UFC 254 main card opener between Magomed Ankalaev and Cutelaba, who both made weight as well.
NOTE: UFC 254 has a special Main Card start time of 2 pm ET / 11 am PT with the Prelims beginning at 11 am ET / 8 am PT.
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje weigh-in results
UFC 254 Main card (2 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV)
- Khabib Nurmagomedov (155) vs. Justin Gaethje (155)
Michael Chandler (155) – UFC 254 main event back-up fighter
- Robert Whittaker (186) vs. Jared Cannonier (185)
- Alexander Volkov (265) vs. Walt Harris (254)
- Jacob Malkoun (186) vs. Phil Hawes (186)
- Lauren Murphy (126) vs. Liliya Shakirova (126)
- Magomed Ankalaev (205.5) vs. Ion Cutelaba (205.5)
Isi Fitikefu (203.5) – light heavyweight back-up fighter
UFC 254 Prelims (12 p.m. ET on ESPN+, ESPN2)
- Stefan Struve (265) vs. Tai Tuivasa (265)
- Nathaniel Wood (140) vs. Casey Kenney (140)
Sergey Morozov (139.5) – catchweight bout back-up fighter
- Alex Oliveira (173)* vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (171)
- Da Un Jung (206) vs. Sam Alvey (206)
UFC 254 Early Prelims (11 a.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Liana Jojua (126) vs. Miranda Maverick (126)
- Joel Alvarez (159.5)** vs. Alexander Yakovlev (155.5)
*Oliveira missed weight by 2 pounds.
** Alvarez missed weight by 3.5 pounds.
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