The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event in Abu Dhabi tonightUFC254”Will fight for the title of champion in the light weight category, the unbeaten Russian wrestler Habib Nurmagomedov (28-0) going in an octagon against the belt’s temporary owner Justin Gaiji (22-2). Habib will defend the title of champion for the third time in his career.
The start of the combat event is scheduled for 21:00 Latvian time, while the evening “sweet food” or the fight between Nurmagomedov and Gaji is expected after about 23:00. According to media estimates, the Russian wrestler will earn $ 10 million tonight, while the American will receive $ 6 million.
Habib will go to the octagon for the first time since September 2019, when he defeated Dustin Porier in a three-round duel in the UFC242 event, successfully defending his championship title for the second time, and the American wrestler failed for the sixth time in 31 fights.
Last year, Nurmagomedov had to meet Tony Ferguson in an octagon, but the fight did not take place because Russia restricted air traffic as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, denying the Russian wrestler the opportunity to come to the venue. UFC249 was moved from April to May, replacing Habib by his opponent this evening Justin Gaji.
Despite his long absence, Habib is still considered one of the most threatening UFC wrestlers, ranking second in the pound-for-pound best wrestler rank, regardless of weight category.
Listen, I think if Habib beats Justin on Saturday, he’ll become the No. 1 pound-for-pound wrestler. in the world. He is on his way to his GOAT status, ”Dana White, president of the organization, told a news conference ahead of the upcoming battle.
A mauler of men vs a taker of souls…
— UFC (@ufc) October 23, 2020
The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov is the undisputed UFC champion. He has been competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) since 2008, while his Russian wrestler made his UFC debut in January 2012. He currently owns the longest winning streak in MMA.
Nurmagomedov won the vacant UFC champion belt in April 2018, beating the 11th place owner Elu Jakvints in the octagon. Later, Habib won two fights, in which he successfully defended his champion belt – in the first duel, the Irish wrestler Conor McGregor was defeated, but later a similar fate was experienced in Porje.
Gaji, on the other hand, is the UFC’s lightweight champion, who became a belt contender in May. As part of the UFC249 combat event, Gaji defeated his compatriot Tony Ferguson, his fourth success in a row. Although so far the American has gone to the UFC octagon only seven times, he ranks 7th in the ranking of the best wrestlers, regardless of weight category.
The 31-year-old Gaiji has been representing mixed martial arts since 2011. From 2013 to 2016, the American represented the WSOF, a champion in the lightweight category, and moved to the UFC after five successful belt defenses.
The organization, which has been successfully run by Dan White for 19 years in a row, came to Gaji with a reputation for being a relentless wrestler. Justin confirmed this in his first duel, having an impressive fight with Michael Johnson. Gaiji left the fight as the winner, beating the opponent at the technical knockout. Later, the meeting of Gaji and Johnson in the octagon was recognized as the best fight of 2017.
After a dazzling start in the UFC career, Gaji suffered two defeats – from Eddie Alvarez and Dastin Porier. Nevertheless, Gaiji was able to recover, improve his technique and now, on the eve of the fight with Nurmagomedov, Justin can be proud of four consecutive victories. The American beat James Wick, Edson Barbos, Donald Serone and Tony Ferguson, inflicting his compatriot his first loss in eight years. Ferguson received a strong Gaiji shot, his face was in the blood, and the situation was saved only by the referee’s signal.
It can be said that the situation created by the coronavirus in the world benefited Gaiji, because it was because of him that the American got the opportunity to go to the field against Ferguson, and as a result to receive appropriate compensation for winning the fight – to face Habib and possibly for the first to be able to win a Russian wrestler.
Justin is a pronounced master of slaughter and is considered one of the owners of the most dangerous blows in the UFC. Gaji has defeated his opponents in 19 of 22 battles in which the American octagon has remained unbeaten. He has a very strong right-handed blow – to be sure, it is enough to reconsider the battles with Edson Barbos, James Wick or Donald Seron, in which Gaiji slaughtered the opponent already in the first round.
Gajji began his athletic career at the age of four in resling, becoming a two-time Arizona state champion in this martial sport during his school years. During his school years, he was so great that he was able to get a sports scholarship to study at university. Already a student, Gaiji was one of the best wrestlers in the United States in his weight class.
While visiting martial arts fanatic Joe Rogan, the world-famous podcast “Joe Rogan Experience”, Gaji revealed a rough plan for the upcoming fight – lower leg kicks, speed and distance. “You have to stay away from the octagon network, but it needs legs. I will keep my distance from him [Habiba], using the dexterity of his legs, and it will make the fight uncomfortable for him, ”revealed the American.
Likewise, Nurmagomedov himself has never hidden the strategy of the upcoming struggle. “I’ll throw him along the ground 100 times,” Habib told a news conference before the upcoming meeting with Gaiji.
According to spectators, Habib is likely to try to lay Gaji on the octagon floor and end the fight in the usual way with pain, while the American will do his best to stay in the center of the octagon and rely on his amazing technique and impressive punch.
Gaji is a great wrestler and the victory over Ferguson alone entitles the American to be among the best, but in tonight’s “sweet dish” Habib is still considered an undisputed favorite. The fight will determine which of the athletes is really the best in the light weight category, so the upcoming fight is especially important for both of them.
The course of the fight can be influenced by the psychological aspect. Nurmagomedov will go to the octagon not only after a year break, but also after a personal tragedy – in the summer, the athlete’s father and his personal trainer Abdulmanaps died of the coronavirus. The psychological mood surrounding his father’s death can affect Habib’s readiness to fight, as the athlete’s father has been Habib’s greatest mentor all his life, helping him reach the pinnacle of martial arts.
When Nurmagomedov successfully defended his championship title against McGregor and Porier, his father’s hand was felt in both successes, but Abdulmanaps will no longer be next in tonight’s fight.
It is an opportunity for a Russian wrestler to prove that he is still invincible and that the tragic death of his father will not affect the results of the master athlete. There is no doubt that because of the memory of his father, Nurmagomedov will go out of the fight with a special focus.
According to foreign media reports, Habib is not currently in contact with anyone and is fully committed to the preparation process. It is possible that after his father’s death, Habib began to train with double the power to honor his father and his coach for his victory. The wrestler’s determination is demonstrated by the fact that six days before the fight, the Russian athlete had already lost 8.5 kg of weight.
Gaiji, on the other hand, will be eager to prove that he is not just another victim of Habib, but one who will be able to capitulate to the “car” of the Dagestan struggle. “It’s the biggest fight of my life – without a doubt,” Gaiji admitted in a conference call to MMA Junkie shortly before the fight.
The whole world knows how Habib is fighting, but no one has been able to figure out a way to stop him. Maybe Gaiji will be the first to do it and upset the fans of the Russian wrestler?
At least Gaiji himself is convinced of this: “When I slaughter Habib, thousands of his fans will cry. On October 24, I will create a real danger, and it will be part of this fight. “