The Khabib Equation, UFC 254 Predictions
Source: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
You ever seen Toy Story? Remember when Buzz and Woody are sorta kidnapped by that fucked up kid named Sid? Yeah, remember that rocket he got to blow toys up with, the "Big One"? Well, this card right here is the big one, and the main event is as big as it gets. Anytime Khabib gets on a card you know it's gonna be massive, but this fight feels different, it feels like Gaethje actually has a chance.
It's not just that Justin is a great striker, but he's also a great wrestler with an unwavering gas tank. Obviously, Khabib comes in the favorite, but Justin has been doing and saying all the right things, but the biggest key is he's doing it with confidence. A fight that could possibly define the careers of both men, it should be an incredible show!
Justin Gaethje vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Well, we know what the deal is here, we know what both men bring to the octagon, but do any of us know how it will actually play out? That's the thing, this fight is a massive question mark. We know what Khabib wants to do, it's the world's worst kept secret, however, Gaethje has plans of making Khabib regret stepping in the cage with him and I don't think we've seen this type of confidence from a Khabib opponent in years, if ever.
Gaethje's game is on a different level recently. His commitment to being the best rather than being the most violent has paid dividends. His fight against Tony was an absolute masterclass in art of war. If that version shows up then we could be in for some fireworks. Power, sharp boxing, piercing leg kicks, a neverending gas tank, and of course the wrestling, he is the prototype to solving the Khabib equation.
However, that equation has never been a secret. In fact, it's almost been put on display for all to try and figure out and nobody has come close. Khabib is the most dominant fighter we've ever seen in the octagon bar none. It will be incredibly fun to see how this one goes down, but the champ has earned his respect, and until seeing is believing I think it's business as usual for "The Eagle".
Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Decision
Jared Cannonier vs Robert Whittaker
It has truly been a crazy road to this point for Cannonier. A one-time Heavyweight fighter is now the hottest thing in the Middleweight division (other than Izzy). To say he's looked good since his rebirth at 185 would be a massive understatement, three fights, three impressive stoppages, but he is in for his biggest test at this weight with the former champ on tap.
Whittaker is still a dangerous dude, and no matter how much people refuse to give him the respect he deserves he is still the best threat to Adesanya. This isn't a new spot for Whittaker either, he's BEEN facing the hardest hitting guys at this weight and has lived to tell the tale more times than not. I just think his striking is too sophisticated for Cannonier to land the big blow.
Prediction: Robert Whittaker, Decision
Walt Harris vs Alexander Volkov
I feel like this fight plays out a lot like how Volkov's fight with Derrick Lewis did. Harris will come out guns blazing, but after that Volkov should take over, so the first round is of utter importance. Although, if the big Russian can't avoid the heavy artillery it could be a quick night.
Prediction: Alexander Volkov, Decision
Phil Hawes vs Jacob Malkoun
Big boy Phil's first UFC bout is on a PPV headlined by Khabib, not a shabby way to be introduced to the UFC masses. This feels like nothing more than a way showcase another DWCS guy so I highly doubt they put him in a spot where he could lose.
Prediction: Phil Hawes, 1st RD TKO
Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova
This is a very strange matchup. A win for Murphy is expected and it doesn't really do anything for her career, I mean it almost feels like Shakirova is getting thrown to the wolves here. On a three fight win streak, Murphy should be fighting for a number one contender shot and not against a UFC newcomer.
Prediction: Lauren Murphy, 2nd RD SUB
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
Listen, I don't know what Cutelaba was trying to do in the first fight between these two but he probably shouldn't do it again. Ion is a wild man but he often loses control and that's exactly when Ankalaev pounces. I doubt we get the fireworks the original had, but this should be a fun one nonetheless.
Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev, 3rd RD SUB
Rest of the Card
Struve def Tuivasa
Kenney def Wood
Rakhmonov def Oliveira
Da Un Jung def Alvey
Maverick def Jojua
Alvarez def Yakovlev
2020 Predictions Record: 156-99-3