Lightweight Interim Title on the Line
The main event of the evening sees Tony Ferguson face Justin Gaethje for the UFC interim lightweight title. In a bout many believe could win ‘Fight of the Year’ honours. Ferguson will look to reclaim the belt he previously won back in 2017, when he defeated Kevin Lee via submission at UFC® 216. Known for his unorthodox and well-rounded game, “El Cucuy”, has won 13 bouts in a row and will hope that reclaiming the interim title leads to a unification bout against reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
However, he faces one of the most exciting competitors on the UFC roster in Justin Gaethje, who has won seven post-fight bonuses in just six UFC fights. Determined to hand Ferguson his first loss in seven years and win his first UFC title, “The Highlight” will undoubtedly pose his opponent one of the toughest tests of his illustrious MMA career so far. Expect fireworks in this contest between two of UFC’s best.
The Dominator Returns
In the co-main event, former champion Dominick Cruz makes his long-awaited return against defending bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo. A true legend of the sport, Cruz has the most wins in UFC/WEC history (with 12) but has not stepped foot inside the Octagon® sinceUFC® 207 back in 2016. “The Dominator” will be looking to silence any doubters and reclaim the title for a record third time come Saturday night.
His task, however, will not be straight forward as he must overcome one of the most successful UFC fighters of recent times in Henry Cejudo. A former Olympic gold medallist in freestyle wrestling, “The Messenger” is one of just four fighters to hold titles simultaneously in two UFC divisions (bantamweight and flyweight) and has won five straight contests. In what promises to be an exciting encounter, Cejudo will hope to add another legend to his resume and cement his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
UFC ®249 also sees two knockout artists in the heavyweight division face off in Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. France, Ngannou has built a reputation as one of the most feared heavyweights on the roster and has won all of his 14 career wins by finish. Having won 13 of his last 15 bouts, and currently riding a three-fight win streak, a win here would reaffirm “The Predator’s” status as a legitimate contender in a competitive division.
His opponent, however, is on an equally impressive run and is currently unbeaten in his professional MMA career. A decorated kickboxer, “Bigi Boy” has seven first round KO’s to his name (including a nine second KO of Allen Crowder at UFC FIGHT NIGHT ®: MOICANO vs. THE KOREAN ZOMBIE) and is the first native of Suriname to compete in UFC. Many do not anticipate this one going the distance as both men possess some serious striking ability and power.
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson vs. Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje
Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo vs. Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz
Francis “The Predator” Ngannou vs. Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik
Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Greg “Prince of War” Hardy vs. Yorgan “The Mad Titan” De Castro
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis
Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum
Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza vs. Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson
Uriah “Prime Time” Hall vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque vs. Niko “The Hybrid” Price
Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell vs. Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa
Ryan “Superman” Spann vs. Sam “Smile’n” Alvey