The highly-anticipated fight sees Khabib as the overwhelming favourite, having beaten former lightweight champion Conor McGregor in his previous match-up last year.
The undefeated Russian will face off against the in-form American in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, with those fans not willing or able to travel to the UAE able to instead watch the fight live on BT Sport Box Office HD from 7pm in the UK.
But alongside the legitimate ways to watch Khabib’s title defence will be countless links to illegal live streams that will inevitably be shared across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit in the build up to the fight.
Websites hosting live feeds of UFC 242 will also rank highly in online searches for the fight, with recent research suggesting that sports piracy has reached “peak levels” in 2019.
Increased levels of piracy pose significant risks to people who seek to watch content illegally, which was highlighted in Khabib’s last fight with McGregor.
Research by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness has shown that a proliferation of new devices like Kodi boxes has played a significant part in this upward trend of piracy.
“TV, sports and film piracy has reverted to peak levels in 2019,” a spokesperson for the consumer body said. “[Our research] also highlights the very real risks to users of these new methods of piracy.”
The consumer body estimates that one-in-four users of IPTV sticks – which stream illegal content – have been affected by viruses and malware. One-in-10 have also been victims of fraud.
It is not just cyber security risks that people who view or host pirated streams face. Several UFC fans have been hit with major fines after inadvertently breaking the law, with one man from Bradford fined £45,000 for sharing a broadcast last year.
Waqas Rasheed claimed he had accidentally created the streams while watching a free online stream.
Another man who broadcast part of the pre-fight coverage of a pay-per-view fight on Periscope on his phone also received thousands of pounds worth of fines.
“I went round to my friend’s house to watch a pay-per-view boxing match and while we were waiting for the fight to start I started scrolling through Periscope,” Josh Mellor told The Independent last year.
“I’d heard in the pub, and from friends, that you could watch free live streams of the fight and wondered how as we’d paid to watch it. Whilst on Periscope, I saw a number of streams and while exploring I clicked the ‘Go Live’ button. I streamed the pre-fight coverage from my mate’s TV for a few minutes before quitting the app.”
Mr Mellor said he had no idea he had broken the law. He said: ”I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand that digital piracy comes with some very real risks. There are laws around it and the implications can be huge, from large fines to actual jail time.”