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UFC 249: Ferguson vs Gaethje - May 9 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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FUCK YOU COVID-19. On Saturday 9th May there’s some fights going down. No Khabib vs Ferguson, but we got this instead...

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PPV MAIN CARD
Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje - Interim Lightweight Title

Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz - Bantamweight Title

Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar

Greg Hardy vs Yorgan De Castro
 

ESPN 2 PRELIMS
Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone

Fabrício Werdum vs Alexey Oleynik 

Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson

Vicente Luque vs Niko Price

 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa

Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey

 

All things considered, that’s still a crazy good card, isn’t it? There’s nothing on this that I can see being boring. And a few fights that sound like potential FOTY matchups on there as well. 

 

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Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje then. What the fuck, man? An absolutely mental state of affairs. Under normal circumstances, if we’d had this fight announced, the MMA world would be buzzing. It’s a fantastic fight between the two barmiest fuckers in the Lightweight division, maybe the sport full stop. Both granite tough, both will walk through fire to do their damage and they seem to thrive in the madness of a blood and guts war.

Obviously there are much bigger things going on at the moment around the world so a fight in a cage isn’t going to have everyone’s undivided attention. On top of that, we lost fucking Khabib vs Ferguson. AGAIN! A bastard FIFTH time!

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It’s never going to happen, is it? Actually, I think I’ve reached the point now where I’m starting to think it just isn’t meant to be. Each time they’ve signed it, something bad has happened and each time worse than the last. You couldn’t really get much worse than a global pandemic but I’d actually be scared for the world if they book Khabib vs Ferguson for a sixth time. No doubt we’d all get wiped out by an asteroid or an alien takeover or some shit. Might be best to just leave it alone.

So on Monday 6th April, we got the confirmation that Ferguson vs Gaethje for the interim title was signed.

Of course, that went balls up as well and the whole April 18th card got binned. And here we are. May 9th. Another attempt at winning what feels like a losing battle. We live in strange times. I won’t fully believe this is actually happening until I’m watching it. But it’s something to look forward to during these dark days.

If it goes ahead, it should be a hell of a fight. Short notice for Gaethje, all the disruption for Ferguson, all the distractions aside. When the cage door shuts, these two are going to go for it. It’s the only way they know how to fight. It’s kind of fitting in an odd way, that this is the fight that’s happening while the world seems like it’s ending. These two nutters. It’s going to be surreal watching these two butcher each other in an arena full of empty chairs. The whole situation is crackers. So I guess this is the fight that’s called for...

Man, I think I’d almost forgotten how to get hyped up for a fight but that promo’s hit the spot.

If you forget the weird and unique circumstances, it’s actually a bit shit that Ferguson is having to fight for another interim belt here. He already became the interim champion and rightful number one contender back in 2017 when he beat Kevin Lee. But sod it. I get it. The winner of this becoming interim champ just means they’re next in line for a unification match with Khabib when/if the world ever gets back to normal.

 

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Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz is the new co-headliner. Weird one. Cejudo hasn’t fought since he beat Marlon Moraes last June. He’s been battling injuries while continuing to be a pocket-sized walking cringeball. Cruz hasn’t fought in over THREE YEARS! We last saw him losing his title to Cody Garbrandt back in December 2016. To put that properly in perspective, Ronda Rousey was on that card. Conor McGregor hadn’t gone completely off the rails yet. Fuck, Trump wasn’t president of the United States yet. We lived in different times. So yeah, it’s a strange one this. We were supposed to be seeing Cejudo vs Aldo and that got a fair bit of criticism because Aldo was coming off a close decision loss. But this is even more odd as Cruz is coming off a one-sided decision loss AND over 3 years on the shelf. I’ve seen a lot of moaning about the matchmaking and usually I’d agree. Especially when you’ve got a legit contender like Petr Yan there waiting in the wings. But with what’s going on at the minute, sod it. I’ll take it.

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And it’s not like Cruz is some bum they’re just throwing in there. The old GOAT discussion doesn’t really come up where the Bantamweight division is concerned but Dominick Cruz is surely up at the top of that list. Beat his arch rival Urijah Faber twice, winning the trilogy. He beat Dillashaw. He came back after a massive layoff and a shitload of injuries and smoked Mizugaki in seconds. He beat Mighty Mouse, Benavidez twice, Bowles, Jorgensen. One of the best to ever do it. People forgot him over the last few years because he’s been sat at the commentary desk. But if he comes back again after another long layoff and reclaims the gold, especially taking it from Lego Henry, he’s got to be the nailed on #1 Bantamweight of all time.

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Won’t be easy of course. For all the eye rolling people do at Cejudo, he’s the real deal when the cage door closes. Did you know he was an Olympic gold medalist and two weight UFC champion? He doesn’t like to brag about it but it’s true. It’s damn true. Seriously, this is a fascinating fight to me. I’d given it zero thought when it was announced really but now typing about it, I’m all in for this. I’m not even much of a Cruz fan, Yan and Moraes are my boys at 135, but come on Dom!

 

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Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik sounds like carnage waiting to happen. This is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** now. It was originally supposed to headline that Columbus card in March. I don’t think these two really needed 5 rounds though. If we’re just talking striking, this is probably the two most lethal men in the Heavyweight division today. Ngannou is a murderous puncher. When he connects, it’s lights out. He’s been on fire of late as well. In his last 3 fights he’s knocked out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. In just over 2 minutes combined! Unbelievable. Rozenstruik is no joke though. 10-0 with 9 knockouts. Stopped Alistair Overeem on short notice in December. He’s got a Kickboxing record of 76-8-1 with 64 knockouts. He’s a bad man. Someone’s getting put to bed and tucked in here. I’d favour Ngannou, just because he’s got that next level, freaky KO power. But you never know. Jairzinho is the much more experienced striker and he’s younger, fresher and not as banged up as some of the battleworn names Big Francis has already smashed. Whatever you do, don’t blink.

 

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Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar should be fireworks. This could’ve easily headlined a Fight Night card. Stephens kind of has his back against the wall coming into this one. He hasn’t tasted victory in nearly two years. He’s lost to Aldo, Zabit and Yair so he’s been mixing at a high level but it’s a losing streak nonetheless. He’s got a fan friendly style so I don’t think he’s in danger of getting the chop just yet, but he could do with an impressive win right about now. Problem is, he’s in with Calvin Kattar and that’s no easy rebound. I really rate Kattar. He lost his last fight to Zabit in November but he gave a good showing and I felt like it could’ve been a different outcome if it was a 5 rounder. He’d stopped Ricardo Lamas and Chris Fishgold before that. I like Kattar. Really good boxing and I think he matches up well with Stephens.

 

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Greg Hardy vs Yorgan De Castro. This shit again. This fight was meant to be on the Fight Night planned for 30th March in Columbus but Corona said no. So the Greg Hardy saga continues here. He’s 5-2-1 now. Stepped in on short notice in Moscow and lost to Alexander Volkov last time out. Before that he plodded to a points win over Ben Sosoli but got it overturned because he’s a pillock and used an inhaler between rounds. He also had that DQ loss because he’s a berk who threw an illegal knee. Oh and there’s that woman beating stuff. Can’t be arsed with him. I’m hoping this is the fight where he finally gets ironed out. De Castro hasn’t looked amazing or anything but he’s 6-0 with 5 knockouts and absolutely wiped out Justin Tafa in a round in his last fight.

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I really hope Hardy suffers the same fate and we can stop pretending he’s some hot prospect like a lot of people bafflingly seem to want to do. Come on Yorgan!

 

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Anthony Pettis vs Donald Cerrone 2 isn’t a rematch people were exactly clamouring for but I’m fully on board with this. They’re both kind of in the same position in their careers. Both coming off losses, both have been patchy results wise. But I still think they’ve got some good fights in them. They’re just not at that title contention level anymore. I don’t think either of them are shot though. Matched up together right now, with them both needing a strong performance, I think they could have a cracker. I’m also happy that we’re getting the rematch. They fought back in January 2013 on a FOX card...

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And Pettis fucking clowned him. Can’t believe that was 7 years ago! This was when Pettis was in full Matrix mode and legit looking like a potential breakout superstar. Took him 2:35 to put Cowboy away with a crushing body kick. Could see it going the same way, to be honest, especially with Cerrone’s MO of starting slow. But I’m hoping we get a longer and more competitive fight this time. I remember being kind of disappointed the first fight ended so quick.

 

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Fabrício Werdum vs Alexey Oleynik. There’s something about this matchup that I absolutely love. Werdum’s been away for a 2 year spell on the naughty step after USADA got him. He was last seen getting stopped by Alexander Volkov on the 2018 London card. He was winning fairly handily as I recall, before big Volk got to him late. Fuck knows what we’re getting out of him at this point. He’s about to turn 43 in July, has been out 2 years and he was never the most consistent at the best of times. Always enjoyed him though. When he was on he was a joy to watch. Especially when he bounced the boomerang off Colby Covington’s head. And Oleynik has really grown on me over the years. Just a big, uncoordinated lump but a grappling gorilla. He’s won 58 fights and 46 of them by submission. Not to mention all the Ezekiel choke finishes. Think it’s 11 or 12 now. A real specialist on the mat. But Werdum might be the best BJJ wizard in Heavyweight history. And I say that as a massive Big Nog fan. Werdum’s something else though. If it ends up a striking battle then Werdum most likely trounces him but I hope they grapple. I’m really intrigued to see what the fuck happens if it hits the deck and stays there for a significant amount of time.

 

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Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson should be decent enough. Not overly fussed but it’s a bit of a heel vs babyface clash which is always welcome. Never been a fan of Esparza. She’s had quite a successful career, 15-6 record, former Invicta champ, won TUF and was the first ever UFC Strawweight champion. Don’t like her though. She seemed a bit of a twat on TUF plus she’s bored me in the cage more often than not over the years. In fairness though, she did have a fantastic fight with Alexa Grasso on the Mexico City card in September. I’ll be pulling for Waterson though, and not for the first time ;) always liked her, and not just because she’s hot as fuck. She seems like one of the nicest people in the game and I like her fighting style. Kicks from all angles and she’s pretty nifty on the ground. Only thing is I’ve always felt like she’s a bit small for the division. She looked fucking tiny against Joanna last time out, and in all her fights really. I think she’ll always struggle against the stronger girls in the division. Which gives me fear that Esparza’s just going to wrestle the shit out of her here.

 

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Jacare Souza vs Uriah Hall sounds like fun. At first glance it’s grappler vs striker but you know how it goes. Jacare isn’t against throwing bombs himself. I think he’d be wise to grapple this one out though. He’s one of the best grapplers in all of MMA. And he badly needs a W here. He’s 40 now and coming off back-to-back losses. He’s back at 185 after losing that shit fight against Jan Blachowicz in November. Never a good sign to me when an ageing fighter starts aimlessly bouncing around weight classes. And Hall is always dangerous. He’s won 3 of his last 4 with the only loss being to Paulo Costa. Not sure how this goes. Jacare is slowing down and coming off losses but it’s not like he’s getting knocked out or really beat up. I think he still wins this if he comes primarily to grapple. And it’s not like Hall’s the most consistent at the best of times. Don’t know what to make of it.

 

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Vicente Luque vs Niko Price 2! This is one of those new matchups that’s come together directly as a result of all this craziness. They were both originally supposed to be on the Portland card on April 11th. Luque was meant to face Randy Brown and Price was booked against Muslim Salikhov. It’s all been reshuffled and now we’ve got this rematch. Should be a cracking fight, this. Big fan of both. They fought back in 2017 and Luque won with a second round submission. Can’t say I recall the fight, I’ll have to get it up on Fight Pass. Should be good though. Both love a scrap and are always in exciting fights.

 

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Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa will probably get slept on, understandably on a card like this. I’m expecting an entertaining one though. Mitchell is a bit of a dopey country bumpkin from Arkansas but I think he’s got some real potential. He’s 25 years old, a BJJ brown-belt and he’s unbeaten at 12-0 with 9 submissions. He won his last fight in December via twister. He’s only the second fighter to win that way in UFC history. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Rosa should be a good dance partner to make a good scrap. He should be able to test Mitchell here. He’s a BJJ black-belt under Ricardo Liborio, so should be able to handle Mitchell’s ground game. He’s 12-3 and had a really fun fight with Yair Rodriguez a few years back.

 

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Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey isn’t doing much for me at all. Never really been able to get into Alvey’s fights. Even when he was briefly booked against Shogun I just felt nothing. Spann is decent though. He’s one of the least talked about prospects at 205 and it’s probably because of his non-flashy style. But he’s effective and I’ve thought he’s looked good in the fights I’ve seen so far. He’s 17-5 and on a 7 fight win streak. Stopped Devin Clark and Little Nog in his last two outings. Still only 28 as well. Time will tell as he faces tougher tests but so far, so good. 


And that’s that. That’s fucking it. I’m not editing this cunt again. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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I am picking Khabib.

I think the pacing of the fight favours him. Ferguson is a slow starter and I don't think he can keep Khabib off him in the opening rounds. I think Khabib will suck the life out of him, and come the middle rounds where Ferguson usually comes on strong, he will find that he hasn't got much left in the tank. Khabib also has a decent jab and head movement to work with on the feet, which will make the task even harder for Ferguson. 

Give me Khabib by clear UD. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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surely Gane/Abdurakimhov has to be on the main card over Vilante against fucking Rothwell.

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Like I said, the order will likely change. This isn’t the final card and that’s just the order they had on MMA Junkie. Doesn’t matter all that much anyway in the end though because we’ll get to see it one way or another wherever it falls on the card. 

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Very true, I just feel it always means that little bit more to be on the PPV. Especially an upcoming heavyweight.

Ima have to watch this thing top to bottom.

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Bad idea doing this one in New York, I can see them making it to the octagon this time only for a shitty finish for a cut or something. 

That said this is THE fight I want to see in UFC the most. Hard to back against Khabib but I think Ferguson will ask him some serious questions.

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I can see Tony craziness getting him into a lot of trouble, in positions where's probably best to stall out, i think Tony will attempt to roll/scramble and put himself into some real bad spots during the fight. It's gonna be bloody.

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Eddie Bravo talking about Khabib vs Ferguson on Rogan’s podcast last night; 

“But I will promise you this. We got all sorts of landmines waiting for him. We know where he wants to take the fight and there’s gonna be some traps there. All sorts of them.”

Man, I can’t fucking wait for this fight. It’s a rare thing to see two guys who everyone sees as THE best two fighters in a division, in their primes, facing off for the gold. But this is it. It’s Fedor vs Cro Cop in 2005 and then some. And call me nuts but I’ve got a feeling Tony might pull this off. I think he might be just good enough and just mad enough to get it done. 

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Tony Ferguson’s version of the Rocky IV training montage.

Deontay Wilder would’ve tapped wearing that. 

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This promo is incredible. Goes through the whole timeline of events. 

Oh and the first press conference is tomorrow night.

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Wand that video has me wishing it was April 18 tomorrow, the weigh in's had taken place, and these two fellas have been put in straight jackets in different padded rooms. Take no fucking chances. 

I even heard some eijit today put a jinx on this fight as well, saying that Coronavirus might be the latest thing to stop Tony/Khabib at the fifth hurdle. To hell with that negativity. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. 

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This card just continues to get more and more stacked. Brett Okamoto is saying that the UFC are looking to run back that Ankalaev vs Cutelaba madness on this card now. 

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