Well sports, fans if you’ve spent the last few weeks “Filling the Void” without sports I have news for you! UFC 249 is finally happening. It’s not gonna be at the Barclays Center, it’s not going to be in Dubai, it’s not going to be on a boat in international waters, nor on some private island somewhere It’s not event going to have the Main Event everyone was clamoring for. But UFC is the first sport back in the time of coronavirus and it happens this Saturday night May 9th.
Original plans for UFC 249
Originally slated to take place on April 18th from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, UFC 249 was canceled due to an emergency order by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo restricting mass gatherings and sporting events. The card’s main event was a highly anticipated match between Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Tony Furguson, billed as a match five years in the making. The cancellation order left Dana White scrambling to still pull off his card amidst a global pandemic.
On April 1st Khabib Nurmagomedov stated via social media that he was in Dagestan and would respect the travel ban and not participate in the event. White insisted that he had a place to hold the fight behind closed doors and that Tony Ferguson’s new opponent would be WSOF Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje with an interim Lightweight Title on the line.
Rumors swirled on where exactly White chose to hold his event. Finally, with pressure from ESPN and parent company The Walt Disney Company, White was forced to suspend UFC 249 and all other UFC scheduled events. However, due to an executive order signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis which would allow sports and team training to take place behind closed doors and not accessible to the general public, UFC 249 was given new life and a new date.
When to watch
UFC 249 will take place Saturday May 9th from the safely not soldout VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Main Card will start at 10pm EST with Prelims set to kickoff at 8pm EST
How to watch
UFC 249 will be available on ESPN+ in the US and BT Sport in the UK. It is also available to stream via the UFC website.
What to watch for
I know everyone was excited for Khabib v Ferguson at UFC 249, but to paraphrase the Shawshank Redemption: ‘If you’ve waited this long, maybe you’re willing to wait a little longer.’ Ferguson v Gaethje offers a fight between two fighters in their absolute prime. You might not be getting the fight you wanted, but you might end up getting the fight you didn’t know you needed. And hey, it’s sports, and it’s on your TV.
Ferguson hasn’t lost in 12 fights, spanning 8 years. On the other side, Gaethje is an on fire brawler with insane striking ability, but he lacks that same striking defense. Oddsmakers have Ferguson as the rightful favorite, but I wouldn’t be against taking a flier on Gaethje in this one. He’s currently sitting at +150 over on FanDuel. I might let my hair down and try to parlay Gaethje with a match or two in the Moscow LIGA table tennis league, because sports!
If you dont feel like shelling out $64.99 or $84.99, depending on your subscription for UFC 249, there are also some great free fights on the preliminary and early preliminary card available on ESPN and ESPN+ before the start of the main card.
The rest of the night looks like this:
- Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz (Bantamweight Title Fight)
- Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (Heavyweight Bout)
- Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar (Featherweight Bout)
- Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro (Heavyweight Bout)
- Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis (Welterweight Bout)
- Alexey Oleynik vs Fabricio Werdum (Heavyweight Bout)
- Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson (Women’s Strawweight Bout)
- Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Souza (Middleweight Bout)
Early Preliminary Card
- Vicente Luque vs Niko Price (Welterweight Bout)
- Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa (Featherweight Bout)
- Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey (Light heavyweight Bout)
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