UFC 249 Betting Preview
The most cursed event in UFC history, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, was originally scheduled for UFC 249. After postponing the fight on four occasions, it appeared we were finally going to see the matchup happen. Then a global pandemic hit and shut down the entire planet down and once again ended the dreams of this mega-fight. Now, UFC 249 is back on for May 9 (originally scheduled for April 18) in Jacksonville, Fla. but with a different lineup and once again, no Khabib vs. Ferguson. There are however still plenty of big names on the betting card, most notably Ferguson.
Early Prelims – Three early preliminary fights will take place on ESPN+. The first fight of the night will be a Light Heavyweight bout between Ryan Spann (17-5) -415 and Sam Alvey (33-13). In a Featherweight bout, Charles Rosa (12-3) will take on up-and-coming undefeated fighter Bryce Mitchell (12-0) -170. The final early prelim bout will be in the Welterweight division between Vicente Luque (17-7-1) -300 and Niko Price (14-3).
Prelims – Heading into the main prelims, the names start to get bigger. The first fight should be an exciting one as Uriah Hall (15-9) takes on Ronaldo Souza (26-8) -130 in a Middleweight bout. In the only women’s bout of the entire card, Carla Esparza (15-6) -160 will take on Michelle Waterson (17-7) in a Strawweight match. In the first of three Heavyweight fights on this card, two veterans will face off as Alexey Oleynik (58-13-1) will take on Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1) -325. The final prelim fight will be a Welterweight contest as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-14) will battle Tony Pettis (22-10) -145.
Main Card – The main card will feature plenty of variety. Title fights, heavy power hitters, methodical fighters who prefer the ground, UFC 249 has it all. The first main card fight will be a Heavyweight fight between former NFL player Greg Hardy (5-2) -210 and Yorgan de Castro (6-0). The second main card bout will be a Featherweight fight between Jeremy Stephens (28-17) and Calvin Kattar (20-4) -255.
Francis Ngannou (14-3) -270 vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0)
The final non-title fight of the night is a Heavyweight bout between two of the biggest punchers in UFC history. Francis Ngannou is regarded as one of the most dangerous men in the UFC with some brutal knockouts (10) on his resume. Jairzinho Rozenstruik quickly made his way up the Heavyweight ranks by destroying every fighter in his path. Rozenstruik has nine career knockouts in 10 fights, with seven of those coming in the first round. He also has three knockouts in under 30 seconds, including the fastest knockout in UFC Heavyweight history at just nine seconds.
Ngannou is the more technical fighter while Rozenstruik relies more on his power. Ngannou also has the advantage in the cardio aspect but after seeing what Rozenstruik did to Allistair Overeem’s lip in his last bout, it is hard to give either fighter a real advantage in this one. Odds are this fight will win knockout of the night honors and possibly fight of the night as well.
Henry Cejudo (15-2) -235 vs. Dominick Cruz (22-2)
In a bout for the UFC Bantamweight title, current champion Henry Cejudo will take on Dominick Cruz. Cejudo started his career with a 10-0 record. And after losing his next two fights, he has since gone on a five-fight win streak and has defended his title twice, both via knockout.
Dominick Cruz went on a 13-fight win streak before losing his last bout via unanimous decision. That was back in 2016. Cruz has been out of the game nearly three-and-a-half years due to injuries. He steps in for Jose Aldo who was unable to gain a visa due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both fighters are in their mid-30’s. However, with Cruz having a three-year layoff, it will be a tall task to come back to such a talented fighter like the Olympic gold medalist Cejudo. This could be a quick fight that is for sure Cejudo’s to lose.
Tony Ferguson (25-3) -175 vs. Justin Gaethje (21-2)
In the headline fight, Tony Ferguson will take on Justin Gaethje for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. The 36-year old Ferguson is on a 12-fight win streak as he climbed his way to the top of the Lightweight rankings. After back-to-back losses, Gaethje has since won his last three bouts, all by knockout.
Ferguson has been one of the UFC’s most electric fighters over the past four or five years. Seven of his last eight bouts have ended with him winning fight of the night or performance of the night honors. Standing or on the ground, Ferguson can finish a fight either way as he has 12 knockout victories and eight submission wins.
Gaethje has had 23 professional fights and 20 of those have ended in a knockout either in his favor or against him. Dating back to 2015, his last 10 fights have all ended in knockouts.
This fight is certainly Ferguson’s to lose. However, there is a chance he could be looking ahead to another chance to fight Khabib. Although unlikely, Gaethje does has a chance to catch Ferguson sleeping. One thing’s for sure, this will be entertaining. Either Ferguson will come out in peak condition and continue his dominant run or Gaethje will catch him off guard and shock the fighting world, possibly by knockout.