- The UFC returns on May 9 for a star-studded event
- Tony Ferguson battles Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title in the main event
- Dominick Cruz makes his long-awaited return in the co-main event
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return on Saturday, May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida for a stacked UFC 249 event that features two title fights. Dana White has been adamant that MMA and the UFC would be the first sport back and he held true to his word.
In the main event, Tony Ferguson will take on Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title in what promises to be one of the best fights of the year. The co-main event sees Henry Cejudo looking to defend his bantamweight title for the first time against the long-time champion, Dominick Cruz.
The UFC 249 main card airs live on Pay-Per-View at 10:00 pm EST. The table below shows odds for the entire card, followed by best bets for the event.
UFC 249 Odds
|Fighter||Book 1 Odds||Book 2 Odds|
|Yorgan De Castro||+170||+176|
All odds taken May 4
Will Ferguson Be a Two-Time Interim Lightweight Champion?
Tony Ferguson (25-3) hasn’t lost a fight since May 5, 2012, and since then has been on an incredible 12-fight winning streak. During that run, he has beaten top contenders, former champions, and surging prospects. He’s also a former interim lightweight champion as he submitted Kevin Lee at UFC 216 but was later stripped of his belt after tearing his ACL.
Last time out, Ferguson TKO’d Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 and before that TKO’d Anthony Pettis at UFC 229. He has beaten the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Josh Thomson.
Justin Gaethje (21-2) is riding a three-fight winning streak while all three wins came by first-round knockout. “The Highlight” has made it known he wants to be remembered as the most exciting fighter ever and I think he has done that. In six UFC fights, he has seven bonuses, while all his fights have ended by KO/TKO. He has beaten Cerrone, Barboza, James Vick, and Michael Johnson while he lost by TKO to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez.
On paper, this is a phenomenal fight. Although most fans wanted the UFC to wait and book Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, this surely makes up for it. Ferguson and Gaethje are two of the most exciting fighters on the roster as they both have a relentless come-forward style.
Entering this fight, the common perception is, if this fight ends early, it will be Gaethje by knockout if it goes later it will by Ferguson by submission or TKO. Regardless, many don’t think this fight hits the scorecards.
Early on, Gaethje certainly has a chance to knockout “El Cucuy” early as we’ve seen him get hit a ton in his career. But, he has solid footwork where I believe he’ll be able to avoid the power shots and then in the second and third round bring on the pressure and throw his weird combinations and mix in the elbows.
Once he starts to frustrate Gaethje, I believe Ferguson will hurt The Highlight in the third round and will either finish him off by TKO or jump on a submission attempt and force the tap. Regardless, I believe Tony Ferguson will get his hand raised and win his second interim lightweight title.
Pick: Tony Ferguson (-172)
Ferguson vs Gaethje
Will Cruz Reclaim His Throne?
Henry Cejudo (15-2) is coming off a very impressive TKO win over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 to win the vacant bantamweight title. Before that, he knocked out T.J. Dillashaw in just 32 seconds to defend his flyweight belt for the first time after upsetting Demetrious Johnson in the scrap before to win the strap. In his career, he has notable wins over Sergio Pettis, Wilson Reis, and Jussier Formiga.
Dominick Cruz (22-2) hasn’t fought since he lost his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt back at UFC 207 in December of 2016. “The Dominator” is considered to be the bantamweight GOAT as he is the former WEC bantamweight champion and the inaugural UFC bantamweight champion. In his career, he has notable wins over Urijah Faber, Dillashaw, Johnson, and Joseph Benavidez.
Although many aren’t happy with Cruz getting the title shot this should be a great fight. Cruz has some of the best footwork and striking in all of MMA, while Cejudo still has lots to prove at 135-pounds.
There is no doubt Cejudo is the better wrestler, as he is an Olympic gold medallist, while Cruz will be the better striker. Yet, I have a hard time picking Cruz because of his layoff and lengthy injury history. In the end, I believe Cejudo will use his wrestling to dominate this fight and earn a decision win.
Pick: Henry Cejudo (-225)
Other UFC 249 Picks
- Francis Ngannou (-275): Ngannou has more power but it is a heavyweight fight so although I think Ngannou wins, I wouldn’t recommend betting this fight.
- Calvin Kattar (-230): Kattar is better everywhere but Stephens is durable so Kattar will win a decision.
- Yorgan De Castro (+176): This really is a coin-flip fight as it will only take one punch to end this fight so give me De Castro at plus money.