A UFC lightweight title unification bout between Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov and recently minted interim champion, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje is currently planned to headline UFC 253 on September 19th. – with a location or venue yet to be disclosed by the organization.
Nurmagomedov is expected to make his first Octagon appearance since last September, where he headlined UFC 242 opposite then-interim champion, Dustin Poirier, taking a third-round rear-naked choke win. At UFC 249 in March – Elevation Fight Team trainee, Gaethje ended the twelve fight rise of Tony Ferguson, scoring the interim crown with a fifth-round stoppage due to strikes. News of the expected main event matching was initially reported by Combate’s Marcelo Barone and Raphael Marinho.
With a perfect professional record of 28-0, Dagestani sambo-specialist, Nurmagomedov will attempt to secure the third successful title defence of his reign. The 31-year-old claimed the vacant title at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, in April of 2018 via a unanimous decision shutout against Al Iaquinta. In a bad-blooded meeting with former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor at UFC 229 that October, Khabib submitted the Dubliner with a penultimate round neck crank.
In the midst of a four-fight rise of his own – Arizonian striker, Gaethje has developed into one of the most poised, composed, counter strikers at 155-pounds in recent years. The 31-year-old has stopped James Vick, Edson Barboza, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, and Ferguson as part of his stunning current lightweight run. With nineteen knockout wins since his professional bow back in August of 2011, the Trevor Wittman product presents a dangerous customer in the striking department.