Source: Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
UFC 249 has been by far one of the more...interesting events the MMA giant has attempted to put on in quite some time. It just seems like no matter what corner Dana White turns there is another barrier waiting to get in his way. I mean if it's not a global pandemic it's Disney, if it's not Disney it's the government and if it's not the government then it's one of his fighters contracting Covid-19. Water under the bridge.
But the show must go on!
With that said this card is immaculate. From the prelim kickoff to the main event, this card is more filled with talent than patients in an undersupplied, overcrowded hospital. Seriously, this card is so good it'll make you sick! So in light of all that here are my predictions for tonights card.
Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethjie
This fight in every sense of the phrase is a barn burner. Both men are crazy, both men push the tempo, and both just flat out love the violence. Ferguson has maybe the most talked about winning streak of all time (except for Goldberg's in WCW, 173-0, no one is touching that!), 12 straight wins which includes a murderers of talent, his resume is untouchable. So I'm leaning Ferguson.
My reasoning behind this pick? We've seen Gaethje in fights like this before -- think Poirier and Alvarez -- and he lost to both of them in glorious fashion. Mad respect to JG, but I just think the MMA gods have an undying need to continually tease us with Tony and Khabib. 6th time a charm right!?
Prediction: Tony Ferguson, 3rd RD TKO
Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz
When this fight was announced I had mixed emotions. Sure, Cruz is a legend and is probably the greatest Bantamweight in the history of the sport, but if we're being fair his last fight was 4 years ago and it wasn't exactly a close loss to Cody Garbrandt. However, the almighty dollar always trumps and Petr Yan was told to take a hike
With all that said, this will be an entertaining fight, the lead up has been rather corny as one would expect with a Cejudo fight, but when it comes to in-ring styles these two are a very interesting matchup. If I'm being honest though, I think Cruz is past it, and as much as he wants everyone to believe ring rust is just a mindset he's going against the most accomplished fighter he's ever faced.
Prediction: Henry Cejudo, Decision
Francis Ngannou vs Jarizhino Rozenstruik
Time heals all wounds, and it also flies when you're having fun. It wasn't that long ago when Ngannou had lost back-to-back fights but don't look now because the most feared man in the sport is riding a 3-fight win streak and is one win away from another title shot. Rozenstruik offers a tough challenge though and is knocking on the door of a title shot as well.
I'll temper my expectations with this fight because we've been burned by a Ngannou bout before, but "The Predator" seems to be a different man and Jairzhino seems to hold nothing in the holster. Expect fireworks but not the big kind, just the kind you hold up while counting down on New Years Eve. They can still be cool but they also have a way of fizzling out.
Prediction: Francis Ngannou, 2nd RD TKO
Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar
As much fun as this fight should be Stephens really dropped the ball. The guy missed weight by almost 5 pounds, and as much as the tire around my stomach leaves no real room for me to judge, it's 5 fucking pounds! But alas the fight goes on, which is no surprise.
Both men are coming in off of losses, and both men have a thrilling history of violence, but I can't help but favour the younger/fresher in Kattar.
Prediction: Calvin Kattar, Decision
Greg Hardy vs Yorga De Castro
We dem boyz baby! I imagine that's what Jerry Jones will be shouting from his very large yacht as he watches Hardy once again reign victorious. I'll say this; Hardy is a talent whether you like him or not, and that's not a surprise considering his past, but what is surprising is just how much the UFC loves putting this guy in big spots lol. How the hell is Cowboy and Pettis not on this card? Whatever.
After his less than stellar loss to Volkov I imagine Hardy will want to get back in the win column in a big way. De Castro is shorter, slower, and never played football. I love football. I miss sports.
Prediction: Greg Hardy, 1st RD TKO
Donald Cerrone def Anthony Pettis
Fabricio Werdum def Aleksei Olenik
Michelle Waterson def Carla Esparza
Vincente Luque def Niko Price
Bryce Mitchell def Carles Rosa
Ryan Spann def Sam Alvey