Ferguson vs. Gaethje
The UFC is back in action and the Ferguson vs. Gaethje main card fight is highly anticipated. The winner gets the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship belt.
Tony Ferguson made his name when competing on The Ultimate Fighter, where he was a loudmouth. Nothing much has changed but he has matured into one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA. Ferguson enters with a record of 26-3-0 after beating Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 in June 2019.
It has been a long time between drinks for Ferguson and he has had only five fights in the last four years. However, he’s always rock-hard fit and he matches up well against Justin Gaethje.
The 21-2 Gaethje is the same height and weight as Ferguson, but he’s giving up 16cm in reach. That’s a big downside if you’re looking to bet on Gaethje this Sunday. He’s likes to attack his opponent straight after the opening bell, but Ferguson is smarter than he gets credit for.
Gaethje is looking for the quick knockout and he doesn’t want this fight going to the ground. He has simply doesn’t want to wrestle, but Ferguson doesn’t mind standing either.
We’re picking Ferguson to win comfortably. He will pick Gaethje apart and win via a late knockout.
Cejudo vs. Cruz
Hands up if you knew the retirement of Dominick Cruz wasn’t going to last. Our hands are up!
The former champion suffered his second career defeat at the hands of Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. It was almost four years ago but he’s back, and by all accounts, he’s ready to fight. However, it’s a long time out of the Octagon and Cruz’s style isn’t ideal for this fight.
Cruz achieved his 22-2 record by outsmarting and outworking his opponents. He has never been a lethal strike puncher and that’s a cause for concern against Henry Cejudo. The American doesn’t get tired and he has seen enough of Cruz’s unique head movement to not be worried.
The belt holder scored a knockout win over Moraes at UFC 238 and given that it was only a year ago, he’s the fitter fighter coming into UFC 249.
We would love to see Dominick Cruz come back and win the Bantamweight title, but commentating looks his best shot at the moment. He’s unlikely to get knocked out because he’s so tough, but his fitness could give out in the latter stages.
Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik
Two big men battle it out in the heavyweight division as Francis Ngannou takes on Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Ngannou comes into this fight with a 14-3 record and he has faced some of the toughest and biggest men in the UFC. The Cameroon native scored knockout wins in his last three fights and all of them came in the first round.
His victims included Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos – two of the biggest names in UFC history. That’s what awaits Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who has been on a headhunting mission himself.
Rozenstruik knocked out Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night in 2019, and that’s hard to do given that Overeem is noted steroid user.
He’s steadily rising up the heavyweight ranks and this is his biggest test to date. Bookmakers have Ngannou as the hot favourite and we’re not surprised.
It’s going to be a thrilling fight and one thing is for sure, it’ll be ending in a knockout.
Stephens vs. Katter
Two experienced fighters do battle in this Featherweight clash. Stephens is 28-17 and although he has 17 losses to his name, he has fought some of the best in the division.
However, it’s not enough to get credit from bookmakers. Calvan Kattar is 20-4 and heavily-favoured to win this fight.
Kattar is coming off a unanimous decision loss at UFC Fight Night in November 2019. He didn’t do much wrong in that fight but it was his second loss from his last five fights.
As for Stephens, he hasn’t had his hand raised since February 2018. He has fought on four occasions since for three losses and one no contest. Jose Aldo knocked him out in 2018 and the other losses came via decision.
He’s not getting any younger and this could be his swansong. Stephens is the value play.
Hardy vs. De Castro
It’s really hard to like Greg Hardy. The former NFL player has done just about everything wrong since arriving in the UFC, but he’s dangerous.
The 5-2 fighter had a no contest in October 2019 and that was followed by a loss at UFC Fight Night in November. He owns plenty of power but doesn’t enjoy playing by the rules.
Yorgan De Castro isn’t as fit as Hardy, but he’s unbeaten from six fights. He has had one fight since winning Dana White’s Contender Series, which resulted in a first-round knockout of Justin Tafa.
He has plenty to learn but he could give Hardy a run for his money. We’re picking another upset result.
UFC 249 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Anthony Pettis (Decision) vs. Donald Cerrone
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum (Decision)
Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson (KO)
Uriah Hall (Decision) vs. Jacare Souza
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price (KO)
Bryce Mitchell vs. Charles Rosa (KO)
Ryan Spann (Decision) vs. Sam Alvey