Betfred’s Kevin Tsang – What to expect from UFC249.

The UFC is back on our screens this weekend and it’s gotten a lot of MMA fans excited! The main card features Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje, Henry Cejudo and the return of former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. The card also features heavy hitters Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik and a run back of Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis 2. See full card: 

Main card  

  • Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje (interim lightweight title fight) 
  • Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz (men’s bantamweight title fight) 
  • Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (heavyweight bout) 
  • Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar (men’s featherweight bout) 
  • Greg Hardy vs Yorgan de Castro (heavyweight bout)

Prelims 

  • Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis (welterweight bout) 
  • Alexey Oleynik vs Fabricio Werdum (heavyweight bout) 
  • Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson (women’s strawweight bout) 

Fight Pass Prelims 

  • Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Souza (middleweight bout) 
  • Vicente Luque vs Niko Price (welterweight bout) 
  • Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa (men’s featherweight bout) 
  • Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey (light-heavyweight bout) 

 

When, where, and how can I watch it? 

UFC 249 will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, to be held behind closed doors with only staff and crew in attendance. The prelims will get underway at 11:30pm GMT on Saturday, May 9 and the main card will commence at 3:00am GMT on Sunday, May 10. All coverage will be shown live on BT Sport 2. 

 

Pictured: The Boogeyman Ferguson

 

Match Up – Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje 

Ferguson v Khabib was the original headline event for UFC249, but with Khabib stuck in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel ban, No.4 contender Justin Gaethje will step in to challenge Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt. 

Both fighters are coming off a TKO win over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and will be looking to secure a title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson is currently in the midst of fighters with the most consecutive wins (12) in the UFC and will be looking to add to that record and join Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, GSP, and Max Holloway with 13 wins. On the other hand, Gaethje is on a 3-fight win streak, after coming back from back-to-back losses against Poirier and Alvarez. However, who will have the edge at the weekend? 

 

 

VIDEO: UFC Star, Danny Roberts gives us his prediction for Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje 

 

Prediction – Ferguson win by TKO 

Ferguson is known for his unorthodox fight style and can strike his opponents at all angles, which makes him spectacular to watch. He’s a high-pressure fighter with excellent cardio and doesn’t let his opponents rest. Ferguson also has an impressive submission rate, with the D’Arce choke being his favourite submission maneuver.  

Gaethje comes from a high-level wrestling background but also has a natural striking ability. He loves to open his strikes with a leg kick (Fact: Gaethje has the highest low kick rate in UFC history, 2.9 per min), which may be key to slowing down the illusiveness of the “boogeyman” Ferguson.  

Given the matchupI would give a slight edge to Ferguson based on his experience and the pressure he brings into the fight. He also has a 6-inch reach advantage, which plays into his strengths of striking from distance. If Gaethje is to have any chance of winning the fight, he CANNOT stand in front of Ferguson. He’ll need to constantly move in and out of the pocket and counter his opponent, as he has done with his previous opponents. He’ll also need to get inside of Ferguson’s reach advantage and chop him away with those low kicks. 

 

 

Pictured: The current flyweight and bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo

 

Match Up – Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz 

The Co-main event features the current flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo against the former bantamweight champion Dominic Cruz. The thing I’m sure most fight fans will be wondering “has 3 years without a fight benefited Cruz or not? In this current situation, we could say playing behind closed doors will benefit Cruz because he won’t have that added pressure from the crowd.  

 

 

VIDEO: UFC Star, Danny Roberts gives us his prediction for Henry Cejudo v Dominic Cruz

 

Prediction – Cejudo to win by decision 

Stylistically, this bout is extremely interesting as we have freestyle wrestler against a freestyle dancer. Cruz is known for his unusual but effective footwork of getting in and out of combat. Cejudo is very short and explosive with his hands and can knock out anyone given the opportunity. 

Taking all things into account, I believe Cejudo has got the momentum on his side. He’s coming off 5 impressive victories, one against the greatest flyweight champions of all time (Demetrious Johnson) and has got a style that could disrupt the movement of Cruz. Cejudo is also extremely effective in the Thai clinch and is very quick in the outside. Not to say Cruz hasn’t got a chanceas he is a former UFC champion. He’s a lot bigger than Cejudo’s previous opponents and has got a great chin when taking shots. His unusual movement may also freeze Cejudo and offer him opportunities to land his looping hooks. However, we would still have to give Cejudo the edge on this one. 

 

 

Pictured: Former Heavyweight Title Contender, Francis Ngannou

 

Match Up – Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik  

Trust me when I say this, there are going to be absolute bombs being thrown in this fight. Both men are devastating powerhouses when it comes to striking 

After suffering back-to-back defeats, Ngannou has gotten his mojo back with a 3-fight win streak (most notably against Junior Dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes), all within the 1st round. On the other sidewe have Rozenstruik who is also a knockout artist (10 wins, 9 KOs) and has come off an impressive victory over Alistair Overeem.  

 

 

VIDEO: UFC Star, Danny Roberts gives us his prediction for Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik  

 

Prediction – Ngannou to win by KO 

Despite Rozenstruik’s impressive undefeated record in the Octagon, he’s facing a whole different beast of Francis Ngannou, who is probably one of the scariest heavyweights in the division. The key for Rozenstruik is how can he slow Ngannou down? Because as we know, Ngannou is an extremely fast starter. Therefore, the key is fighting from the outside, level changing, letting Ngannou carry his weight, and waste his energy. However, I believe the experience will play a huge part in this fight and we’ll see another victory for Francis Ngannou.   

 

 

Pictured: The Cowboy is back in action!

 

Match Up – Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis 

Their last few results haven’t been what they would have wanted, but both fighters will be looking to bounce back with a creditable win. Back in 2013, the pair met in the Octagon in UFC on Fox and it was nothing but masterful (at least from Anthony Pettis). Pettis showed off his ability to change stance and fight from the southpaw position, which eventually led him to a TKO victory. Will it be the same result at UFC249? 

 

 

VIDEO: UFC Star, Danny Roberts gives us his prediction for Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis

 

Prediction – Anthony Pettis by KO 

It’s been a few years since their first encounterCerrone has racked up a 17wins (vs 6 wins for Pettis) and has been the far more active fighter. However, his fighting style is easily prone to counters because of his upright stance. This falls right into Pettis’ favour, as he loves to counter with some good punches around his high guard and when Donald is expecting the liver kick. Not only this, but he can also easily switch stances (as we saw in the first fight), which can open all sorts of angles. For Cerrone, I believe that he needs to get through the early rounds to gain some fluidity because Pettis is an early starter. However, with how Cerrone’s most recent fights have gone, I’m afraid it may be the same result for him. 

 

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