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10 Jun, 2020 10:19

Mystic Khabib: UFC champ Nurmagomedov makes his 'Fight Island' predictions

Mystic Khabib: UFC champ Nurmagomedov makes his 'Fight Island' predictions

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has revealed his picks for the first 'Fight Island' event, UFC 251, which is set to take place on July 11 with three world title fights at the top of the card.

It was announced on Tuesday that Abu Dhabi's Yas Island will host Dana White's "Fight Island" project, which will host four UFC events in the span of two weeks beginning with UFC 251 on July 11. Further events will follow on July 15, 18 and 25.

Also on rt.com UFC reveals Abu Dhabi as host of Dana White's 'Fight Island', Volkanovski-Holloway rematch to headline first fight card

A trio of world title fights will headline the pay-per-view card on July 11, with Kamaru Usman defending his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns, Max Holloway attempting to regain the 145-pound title from Alexander Volklanovski and Russia's Petr Yan taking on UFC legend Jose Aldo for the organization's vacant bantamweight strap. 

Khabib, meanwhile, has issued his predictions for the trio of title fights to take place next month.

The reigning UFC lightweight champion picked Kamaru Usman to retain his 170-pound title against Brazilian challenger Burns, while he also selected fellow countryman Petr Yan and former featherweight champ Holloway to capture championship gold at the event.

It is perhaps not too surprising that Khabib has opted for these picks. Both he and Usman share a manager in Dominance MMA figurehead Ali Abdelaziz, which perhaps helps explain why he's backing the man one weight class above him to defend his crown.

Holloway, the former UFC featherweight champion, is known to have a cordial relationship with Nurmagomedov stemming the pair being linked with fights with one another on previous occasions.

Holloway was close to taking on Khabib for the vacant lightweight title on short notice two years ago at UFC 223, but was forced to bow out after being deemed unable to make the weight requirements, with the fight going to Al Iaquinta instead. 

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As for Yan, he is probably the best known Russian fighter in the UFC who isn't named Khabib.

Khabib, meanwhile, is expected to return to action in September at UFC 253 where he will defend the UFC lightweight title against newly-crowned interim champion Justin Gaethje.