Khabib the heavy favourite against Gaethje on UFC 254 odds

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov throws an uppercut at Al Iaquinta during the fifth round of a their UFC 223 main event bout. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The lightweight title will be on the line on Saturday when reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 as a heavy -335 favourite on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Undefeated in 28 career fights, Khabib will be aiming to record a third straight successful defence of his UFC lightweight crown when he steps into the octagon for Saturday's bout at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Khabib needed a unanimous nod from the judges in a clash with Al Iaquinta to claim his crown at UFC 223, but he has been dominant while recording submission victories in his two title defences. The 32-year-old stopped Conor McGregor in the fourth round in their controversial matchup at UFC 229, paying out at -275 odds at online betting sites, and followed up with a third-round victory over Dustin Poirier in his last outing at UFC 242.

Overall, Khabib has finished opponents in 20 of his 28 career victories, including 10 by submission, but he has seen six of his 12 UFC wins come by decision.

Gaethje aims for a fifth straight victory as he battles Khabib on Saturday as a +255 underdog on the UFC 254 odds. With Khabib unable to compete due to travel restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gaethje seized the opportunity to claim the interim UFC lightweight title with a fifth-round TKO victory over former interim champion Tony Ferguson as a lengthy +200 underdog at UFC 249.

Gaethje's victory over Ferguson was declared both the Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night, earning the 31-year-old American a bonus for the eighth time in as many UFC contests, with each of those fights finishing inside the distance. In addition, that run has featured opening-round finishes of James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald Cerrone.

Earlier on Saturday, Robert Whittaker battles Jared Cannonier in a matchup of the top-ranked contenders in the UFC middleweight division as a -115 pick'em.

Currently the UFC's top-ranked middleweight contender, Whittaker suffered a second-round KO loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 that cost him the UFC middleweight crown. However, Whittaker rebounded with a five-round unanimous decision win over Darren Till at UFC Fight Island 3 as a -175 wager. Listed at No. 2 on the UFC middleweight rankings, Cannonier has recorded three straight TKO wins since making his middleweight debut.

Elsewhere on the UFC 254 odds for Saturday, Alexander Volkov battles fellow heavyweight Walt Harris as a -200 favourite, while Lauren Murphy clashes with Liliya Shakirova as a strong -200 wager in women's flyweight action.

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