UFC 254 Start Time: Why is Khabib vs. Gaethje in the afternoon? 1

One of the most highly-anticipated UFC events of the year is scheduled to take place this Saturday afternoon (watch on ESPN+).

At UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov will face Justin Gaethje in a battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship, but the pair are expected to enter the cage at the unusually early time of 4:30 pm ET on Saturday.

It’s typical for most UFC title fights to commence at midnight or later. But right now, the UFC is hosting events in their own special bubble at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and that has allowed the promotion to explore possibilities that are otherwise challenging when hosting events in the United States.

For example, in September 2019, the UFC experimented with an early start time for UFC 242: Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier. The main card start time of 2 pm ET benefited Nurmagomedov’s fans in Russia and most of Europe who could enjoy an extremely rare evening fight card.

With Nurmagomedov’s incredible worldwide fanbase, the UFC has again opted for the 2 pm main card start time for UFC 254.  With a six-fight main card scheduled for Saturday afternoon, it’s expected that Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje will begin at 4:30 pm ET.

UFC 254 is an ESPN+ exclusive pay-per-view card and that means that fight fans in the United States are only able to watch the card by ordering and streaming the event on ESPN+.

What time is Khabib vs. Gaethje?

  • Khabib vs. Gaethje start time: 4:30 pm (ET) only on ESPN+ PPV
  • UFC 254 Main Card: 2:00 pm (ET) only on ESPN+ PPV
  • UFC 254 Prelims: 12:00 pm (ET)
  • UFC 254 Early Prelims: 11:00 am (ET)

UFC 254 Fight Card

Saturday, October 24 – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Main Card – 2:00 pm (ET) on ESPN+ PPV

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
  • Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
  • Jacob Malkoun vs. Phil Hawes
  • Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba

Prelims – 12:00 pm (ET) on ESPN+

  • Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
  • Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
  • Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey

Early Prelims – 11:00 am (ET) on ESPN+

  • Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
  • Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev

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