UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Preview

 

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje will air on May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Early Preliminary Card (Fight Pass)

RYAN “SUPERMAN” SPANN (17-5-0) vs SAM “SMILE’N” ALVEY (33-13-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Spann brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Alvey brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. The wrestling Alvey possesses looks to be his key to victory. However, Spann has a great takedown defense and will not let Alvey use his wrestling. Spann will keep the fight standing and throw heavy hands at Alvey throughout the fight. My prediction: Spann wins via TKO in Round 1.

BRYCE “THUG NASTY” MITCHELL (12-0-0) vs CHARLES ROSA (12-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Mitchell brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Rosa brings boxing, karate, and jiu-jitsu. The striking ability of Rosa appears to be too much for Mitchell, who is not much of a striker. However, Mitchell is a better grappler and he’ll bring the fight to the ground with ease. He’ll be able to out grapple Rosa and force him to quit. My prediction: Mitchell wins via submission in Round 2.

#13 VICENTE “THE SILENT ASSASSIN” LUQUE (17-7-1) vs NIKO “THE HYBRID” PRICE (14-3-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round fight in the welterweight division. Luque brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, Luta Livre, and jiu-jitsu. Price brings kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Both are great strikers, but Luque is the better striker. His Muay Thai will prove too powerful over Price’s kickboxing. Price will try to land heavy shots, but he’ll only get hit in the process. My prediction: Luque wins via knockout in Round 2.

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

#7 CARLA “COOKIE MONSTER” ESPARZA (15-6-0) vs #8 MICHELLE “THE KARATE HOTTIE” WATERSON (17-7-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s strawweight division. Esparza brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. She is a former strawweight champion. Waterson brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, karate, and jiu-jitsu. She is a former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. Esparza’s wrestling appears to give her the advantage in this fight. However, Waterson has great takedown defense and will be using her Muay Thai and karate as well. She’ll be able to keep Esparza at bay while scoring critical points. My prediction: Waterson wins via unanimous decision.

#12 ALEXEY “THE BOA CONSTRICTOR” OLEINIK (58-13-1) vs FABRICIO “VAI CAVALO” WERDUM (23-8-1)
This is a three-round fight in the heavyweight division. Oleinik brings sambo and jiu-jitsu. Werdum brings Muay Thai, judo, and jiu-jitsu giving him knockout power and grappling control. He is a former heavyweight champion of Strikeforce and UFC. Both are extreme grapplers who look to prove who is better. Werdum’s jiu-jitsu looks to be too much for Oleinik, but Oleinik is no joke. He’ll be able to defend against Werdum’s grappling and counter with his own. He will find Werdum’s open spot and go for the kill. My prediction: Oleinik wins via submission in Round 3.

#5 DONALD “COWBOY” CERRONE (36-13-0, 1 NC) vs #11 ANTHONY “SHOWTIME” PETTIS (22-10-0)
This is a three-round fight in the welterweight division. Cerrone brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Gaidojutsu, and jiu-jitsu. Pettis brings boxing, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is a former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion. Cerrone is a tough fighter who can take heavy blows. However, his chin has grown weaker and Pettis will take advantage of that. He will throw strikes at Cerrone while avoiding many of Cerrone’s. Cerrone will try to bring the fight to the ground, but Pettis will keep the fight standing. My prediction: Pettis wins via knockout in round 3.

Main Card (Pay-Per-View – ESPN+)

GREG “THE PRINCE OF WAR” HARDY (5-2-0, 1 NC) vs YORGAN DE CASTRO (6-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the heavyweight division. Hardy brings boxing, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. Castro brings striking and grappling With Castro having some grappling he looks to take this fight. However, Hardy has impressive knockout power and Castro has never faced a power like that before. Hardy will attack Castro head-on while holding nothing back. This will cause Castro to lose his focus and end up eating some heavy blows. My prediction: Hardy wins via knockout in Round 1.

#7 JEREMY “LIL HEATHENS” STEPHENS (28-17-0, 1 NC) vs #9 CALVIN KATTAR (20-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Stephens brings Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Kattar brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Two tough fighters are ready to throw down. Stephens is as tough as they come, but Kattar proves to be on a different level. He will throw faster strikes and have better control with his wrestling. Stephens will put up a fight, but Kattar will continue to overpower him. My prediction: Katter wins via unanimous decision.

#2 FRANCIS “THE PREDATOR” NGANNOU (14-3-0) vs #6 JAIRZINHO “BIGI BOY” ROZENSTRUIK (10-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the heavyweight division. Ngannou brings boxing and savate. Rozenstruik brings boxing and grappling. Both are two of the best knockout artist in the heavyweight division. Rozenstruik always can make quick comebacks, but Ngannou never lets his opponents comeback. Ngannou will land heavy blows right away and not give Rozenstruik any chances. My prediction: Ngannou wins via knockout in Round 1.

(C) HENRY “THE MESSENGER” CEJUDO (15-2-0) vs DOMINICK “THE DOMINATOR” CRUZ (22-2-0)
This is a five-round co-main event for the bantamweight championship. Cejudo brings Muay Thai and wrestling. He is a gold medalist winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics and the current bantamweight champion and former flyweight champion. Cruz brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is a former bantamweight champion of both WEC and UFC. Both are well-rounded as fighters come. Cruz has elite level wrestling and intense striking power. With both combinations, he looks to end Cejudo’s champion reign. However, Cejudo is unlike any challenger Cruz has faced before. Cejudo’s Olympic wrestling will prove more than Cruz can handle. Cejudo will be able to gain control and keep control of the fight until the very end. My prediction: Cejudo wins via unanimous decision.

#1 TONG “EL CUCUY” FERGUSON (25-3-0) vs #4 JUSTIN “THE HIGHLIGHT” GAETHJE (21-2-0)
This is a five-round main event for the interim lightweight championship. Ferguson brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13. Gaethje brings boxing and wrestling. Gaethje’s knockout power looks to be his main weapon to defeat Ferguson. Ferguson does has a great chin and will not go down that easy. He will return throws at Gaethje while taking him to the ground. There they will get into a full-on grappling match. Gaethje will defend, but Ferguson will begin to overpower him. Once he gets Gaethje in the right position he’ll put him away and prove why he is a threat to the division. My prediction: Ferguson wins via submission in Round 4.