UFC 249 will finally take place on May 9 after a trail of controversy that has followed UFC president Dana White for the best part of a year. After the targeted date of April 18 was postponed due to the current global circumstances, White made it no secret that his primary goal was to make this fight happen. The event’s date was penciled back in the diary and last Friday White gave it the official green light.
There have been some exceptional changes to the bout since the card was first announced. Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was the highly anticipated opponent to share the octagon with Ferguson, but the contest was scrapped after Nurmagomedov found himself stranded in his native Dagestan due to travel restrictions. Fan favorite, Justin Gaethje, is the man that has filled the Champion’s shoes and will battle it out for the chance to claim the Lightweight Interim belt.
Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas pulled out of her scheduled co-main event fight with Jessica Andrade, then the featherweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer was also shelved with Nunes claiming she was not ready for the fight. According to White, a bantamweight title bout between Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz has also been attached to the exclusive UFC card. With the cancellation of UFC events, several fighters had already endured weeks of laborious training and were ready and more than willing to be included in this unique and choreographed night of fights. Bet Today USA explores all the UFC predictions, questions, and intricacies of the fights below.
UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but with the location a hotly contested subject of speculation, White was forced to withdraw. The UFC president claimed he was a few days away from securing a new location on the controversial ‘private island’ but since has been seen as a ploy for the real location.
After the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in California was canned, White found himself in a precarious position. After Florida had deemed ‘professional sports and media production with a national audience’ essential, White got to work and secured the VyStar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida the location for UFC 249.
The most positive changes to the card have been the simplest ones so far for the sport. First, the venue has been changed from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to VyStar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. White’s decision to keep the ball rolling after several locations were canceled might be the single most important thing driving the card.
Secondarily, it’s as important the 50-year-old president kept the location under wraps because it gives the public and media less time to bombard the organization with complaints and protests. The longer White kept the location a secret, the higher the possibility the fans could see leather being traded.
Justin Gaethje stepping in to fill Khabib’s shoes is monumental for the sport, the Arizona-born striker is a fan-favorite and rock-solid performer with a plethora of talent in his locker. The 31-year-old American has three straight finishes over James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald Cerrone. While fans will be disappointed the curse struck again for the fifth time between Ferguson and Khabib, Gaethje is a born-brawler who will bring an exciting and violent encounter to Ferguson.
Fans have been waiting a long time to see Nurmagomedov and Ferguson trade blows and this is the fifth cancelation this fight has had. Now the fight has been shelved, it’s a strong possibility that this duel will never happen. After all, if Gaethje beats Ferguson at UFC 249 that would mean Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson would be redundant.
The card has been molded together with fighters who want to fight rather than the fighters who should have fought. Even though White has worked his black magic to make this an epic evening of fights, the original card was what the fans wanted to see.
White reassured the world that health and safety has and will always be his main priority and that the UFC is going to spend a lot of money to make sure people are safe. The UFC president did not get into details about the testing policy but mentioned again that health and safety is his top priority.
Prior to the cancellation ahead of April 18, the fighters, media, corner people, and people who are inclusively invited to the event will be tested for the disease on site, sources confirmed. The UFC is believed to be sending COVID-19 test kits to everyone at the venue, not just the fighters.
Ferguson has been preparing for this fight for months versus Gaethje’s last-minute pen-to-paper. It’s a rare move for “The Highlight” to take a short-notice fight, throughout the American’s career he has always stayed adamant and not taken the step-in fights. This rare opportunity to fight Ferguson in a tumbleweed arena for the interim lightweight championship was probably too good to pass up.
Ferguson has training time on his side which puts him in an advantageous position by default. Combined with the fact that Ferguson quite possibly has the strongest mental game on the circuit, making Gaethje’s quest for glory that much harder. The Arizona native has made it apparent he is terrified of Ferguson, but this precarious situation will propel the American’s nerves and possibly make him that much more dangerous.
Tony Ferguson is one of the most unconventional fighters that you’ll ever witness. Opponents walk into the eight walls of death facing an unpredictable and erratic brawler in the form of Ferguson. The American has dynamite in his hands and is quite accurate when it comes to trading blows boxing his opponent from range. “El Cucuy” is also known to threaten a takedown, only to quickly after unleash his trademark spinning elbows that are as dangerous as they are unforeseeable. Ferguson’s grappling style also enables him to output a large volume of attacks which makes him a highly dangerous threat on the ground.
Gaethje’s battle plans are no secret, his transparency is his flaw and strength. The American will enter the Octagon with one intention, to walk forward and throw a flurry of hammers until he either puts Ferguson on the canvass. The style has served Gaethje extremely well throughout his career and hopefully should reward him in UFC 249. The 31-year-old’s formulaic style has always been a dice roll, but the gamble is a huge payoff. As sharp as Ferguson is in all areas of his fight game, the capricious fighter does swallow hits and no man can afford to absorb the potent punches Gaethje throws.
There is so much uncertainty surrounding this fight and event, and a plethora of obstacles to overcome before May 9. Both fighters face the same unusual circumstances with their training and the fight itself. Looking at this fight as a pragmatist, it is Ferguson’s to lose. Gaethje possesses some dangerous power, but Ferguson is well-regimented and is the owner of a great deal of composure that should see him through the five rounds.
Henry Cejudo is laying his UFC bantamweight title on the line against former two-time UFC 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Cejudo captured the UFC flyweight title in August 2018 when he ended Demetrious Johnson’s long title reign via split decision.
Cruz, on the other hand, was the inaugural UFC bantamweight champion, defended his title twice before vacating the belt due to injuries.
Cejudo vs. Cruz is the bantamweight household names we want to see in the Octagon on May 9. Cejudo has put on some phenomenal performances to earn his two belts and has packed his fight locker full of output options. Cejudo has been more active than his opponent on the night, competing in five fights, all of which Californian native has won. “The Messenger” is a favorite for a reason.
Cruz, on the other hand, will solely rely on his fitness and what shape he is in mentally. If Cruz walks into the eight walls of death with full-fitness on his side, then Cejudo will have a lot on his hands. “The Dominator” will use his silky movement and speed to exploit his height and reach advantage, Cejudo will struggle to contain the 35-year-old. Cruz has the tools and mentality to get his belt back, but Cejudo has demonstrated why he is unstoppable at this moment in time.
When the pair first met in 2013, Pettis had a record of 16-2, while Cerrone was building his war-horse status at 19-4-0-1. Neither man had suffered a knockout loss at that time, but that changed when Pettis recorded a 2:35 TKO against Cerrone via body kick. Pettis won the UFC lightweight in his next outing besting Benson Henderson via submission, after relinquishing it to Rafael dos Anjos in March 2015.
Cerrone found some form and rode an eight-fight winning streak wave cementing his impressive fight card status. Cerrone of late was Conor McGregor’s victim in the Irishman’s comeback fight last January. The Dubliner peppered Cerrone with a barrage of shoulder shots and won the fight in the space of 40 seconds. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a veteran gunslinger with the most wins in UFC history to his name. The Colorado native has the experience under his belt and has the power to put Pettis to the canvas.
“The Showtime” is well versed everywhere. Based on the previous bout, Pettis has the stand-up advantage. On the ground, Pettis looks to be more dangerous than Cerrone, searching out more submissions. The 33-year-old will be exercising unpredictability to keep the ageing cowboy guessing, throwing his creative spins and unorthodox combinations. As long as Pettis doesn’t fall back into his bad form, then the American should be able to pick apart the former contender. If you enjoy UFC parlays, then why not try our UFC parlay calculator and insert all the different variations to ramp up the UFC 249 excitement.
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