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The wait has come to an end as the much-anticipated lightweight championship unification bout from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi is upon us. In the main event of Saturday's UFC 254 card, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will clash with interim champ Justin Gaethje in a battle that is as much about legacy as it is belts. But what if you want to spice up your viewing experience by throwing down some money at the betting window?

Nurmagomedov will enter the cage as a sizable favorite despite facing possibly the toughest test of his career in Gaethje. "The Eagle" currently sits as a -360 favorite, while Gaethje is a +280 underdog. Those lines speak to how dominant a champion Nurmagomedov has been, as Gaethje is coming off a career-best performance in dominating Tony Ferguson, who was thought for years to be the biggest risk to Nurmagomedov's title reign.

Gaethje enters the showdown with four straight TKOs, including three in the first round over James Vick, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone. "The Highlight" has yet to see the judges' scorecards since joining UFC back in 2017 and the last decision of his career came in 2014 against Melvin Guillard under the WSOF banner. 

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Plus, the co-main event sees a de facto middleweight title eliminator take place as former champ Robert Whittaker takes on veteran Jared Cannonier. Whittaker rebounded nicely from his TKO loss to Israel Adesanya with a decision win over Darren Till earlier this summer. Cannonier, meanwhile, has won three straight since dropping to 185 pounds, but none of his opponents have been the level of Whittaker.

When the action is expected to be this good, bettors can't wait to get in on the fun. And that's exactly what you can expect this weekend with so many intriguing matchups up and down this 12-fight card. A lot of gamblers like to live outside the box of straight moneyline picks, and that's what we're here for in this space. We're going to take a closer look at the main card to find the best values on prop bets with odds provided via William Hill Sportsbook.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Justin Gaethje (ic)

Method of resultOdds

Nurmagomedov via KO/TKO/DQ


Nurmagomedov via submission +188

Nurmagomedov via decision


Gaethje via KO/TKO/DQ


Gaethje via submission


Gaethje via decision




Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Fight goes the distance: NO (-225) -- Sure, there are sexier numbers on the board, like Nurmagomedov via submission or knockout, but the fight simply not making it five full rounds feels like a safe bet to the point where -225 still feels like there's value, even as maybe a safer part of a parlay. Gaethje has only seen the scorecards twice in his career and has been stopped in both of his losses. He will be swinging for the fences knowing that winning three rounds against Nurmagomedov is a pretty tall order. Nurmagomedov could grind out a decision, but it's easier to see him working his takedown game to soften Gaethje up to open for a submission or simply pounding away until the ref is forced to stop the fight. A few alternative picks that have some appeal, if you want to get in on the main event, are the fight ending in under 2.5 rounds (+100) or the straight Nurmagomedov by KO/TKO/DQ or submission line (-125). 

Jared Cannonier vs. Robert Whittaker

Method of resultOdds

Cannonier via KO/TKO/DQ


Cannonier via submission


Cannonier via decision


Whittaker via KO/TKO/DQ


Whittaker via submission


Whittaker via decision



Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Robert Whittaker via decision (+225) -- The straight-up Whittaker moneyline, currently -110, feels like a steal already. So, this comes down to picking most-likely method of victory. Yes, Cannonier has been a wrecking ball since finding his way to middleweight after stints at heavyweight and light heavyweight, but Whittaker is a proven elite 185-pound fighter. Cannonier's best win in the division is over Jack Hermansson -- a very good fighter but a step below Whittaker. Whittaker does have the ability to finish a fight with strikes, but knowing that Cannonier has huge power means he will likely be looking to pick his spots to engage, score points and move out of danger. That reads like a decision victory for the better fighter, so Whittaker via decision feels good here.

Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa

Method of resultOdds

Struve via KO/TKO/DQ


Struve via submission


Struve via decision


Tuivasa via KO/TKO/DQ


Tuivasa via submission


Tuivasa via decision


Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Total Rounds Under 1.5 (+110) -- We're going away from the odds on the above table here for what feels like one of the best lines on the entire card. Struve has been knocked out eight times in his career, with a single submission loss mixed in. In his 41 career fights, Struve has seen the judges' scorecards just five times. Tuivasa started his career 9-0 with eight knockouts before suffering three straight losses coming into UFC 254. Two of those three losses have come via stoppage. Combined, only 13 percent of their fights have gone to a decision. The two make for a very volatile mix, and a finish before the halfway point of the fight feels very likely.

Who will win Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje, and how will each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 254, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $20,000 on MMA and has nailed 22 of the last 28 main events.