You have to give Dana White credit for not giving up on his goal of making UFC 249 happen. Whether you agree with it or not, White’s efforts to get the UFC back on track and provide some distractions for fans is impressive.
Those efforts have paid off in a big way as there are multiple ongoing developments for the UFC’s immediate future that have been turning the sports world upside down.
In addition to signing a new main event fight for UFC 249, Dana White also revealed that he’s not only secured a venue for the next few months, but that he’s also secured an island for international events for the foreseeable future.
UFC to Run Weekly Events Once Again
When things began to shutdown, Dana White and the UFC was defiant and said they would keep running shows. White and the UFC thought they could use their APEX facility in Las Vegas to continue with weekly events.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and the world’s number one MMA promotion ended up cancelling three shows: March 21st, March 28th, and April 11th. This was due to Nevada issuing an order to cancel all sports and to close all non-essential businesses.
The Nevada Athletic Commission officially declared on April 5th that all combat sports would be cancelled in the state until further notice. That could end up being a few months. A timeframe of several months didn’t work for Dana White and he went outside of the box to really make things happen.
First, White never gave up on still doing UFC 249 on April 18th. Many critics laughed at this preposterous idea, but White and the UFC kept pushing forward. Eventually, they found a location to hold this event.
However, White hasn’t disclosed the location of this venue. In fact, it’s being referred to as “a secret location” as if to make things more mysterious. White did indicate that he’s locked up this location for the next two months and plans on cranking out weekly fights.
In addition to a venue for UFC 249, and the next two months, Dana White proudly proclaimed that he has secured an island to do shows on:
“I’ve also secured an island. I’ve got an island. The infrastructure is being built right now. We’re going to do all of our international fights on this island. When we do this fight on April 18, international and U.S., we’re going to start cranking. The UFC will be back up and running internationally and the U.S.”
This has to be one of the greatest things that I’ve ever heard in sports. Who goes out and gets an island?
As long as the UFC can make everything safe for all individuals involved then I agree with Dana White. People are going to “lose their minds” if they have to stay in their homes without entertainment. The UFC is trying to fill in the void and provide fans with TV content during these rough times.
The news of a venue for UFC 249 and an island for future shows has certainly made up for the announcement last week that Nurmagomedov wouldn’t be competing against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
The reasons for Nurmagomedov’s pulling out of UFC 249 was Russia’s limitations on international flights and his safety. The Russian lightweight champion was “forced” to head back to his country where he is now unable to leave. White commented on this matter:
“And I know everyone was going crazy on Khabib and saying that he [pulled out]. Khabib didn’t do anything wrong. If you look at the way that the world changed, literally by the day, we got caught up man, and he ended up getting flown back to Russia. He didn’t fly back to Russia, het got flown back to Russia. So it sucks, but what are you going to do?”
Normally, this occurrence wouldn’t have angered fans as much as it has. However, it’s now the 5th time that this particular matchup has been cancelled for one reason or another. The previous matchups were supposed to take place at the following events:
TUF Finale 22
UFC on FOX
Instead, Ferguson or Nurmagomedov were tasked to face someone else due to one of them pulling out because of an injury or another significant issue. At UFC 209, the entire fight was scrapped.
MMA media outlets and fans alike are declaring this the most cursed fight of all-time. After five different attempts to make it happen, it’s almost as if this fight is doomed to never take place.
Ferguson believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov is going to retire without every fighting him. Following Nurmagomedov’s announcement that he wasn’t going to be fighting at UFC 249, Ferguson declared that Khabib be stripped of the title. He also went on to be very critical of the lightweight champ:
“As far as Khabib goes, he has the power and he has the opportunities to be able to take a private plane, come back, finish his training camp and be able to do UFC 249 for all the people and for everybody else that’s out there to give a little bit more hope to people that are staying at home and trying to get through this. He does not want to fight. I guarantee this dude is going to try to retire without fighting me.”
Although the UFC didn’t strip Nurmagomedov, and I don’t see how they could, Ferguson will be fighting for the interim lightweight belt against his new opponent Justin Gaethje.
After Khabib Nurmagomedov was axed from this card, the UFC didn’t waste any time in finding a suitable replacement for Tony Ferguson (26-3). They called on the hard hitting Justin Gaethje (21-2) who’s ranked as the #4 lightweight in the promotion.
Gaethje has won three straight fights via 1st round TKO/KO over Cerrone, Barboza and Vick. He will have the one shot power advantage for this fight, but he does lack a ground game compared to Ferguson. This will be Gaethje’s first time taking a fight on short notice, but he’s ready for the risk:
“No, I haven’t [taken a short-notice fight like this before], but I’ve also never been offered a UFC title. That’s the only thing I’m working for. That’s all I’ve been working for since the beginning so I’m ready to gamble.”
Ferguson opens as the favorite with odds from MMA betting sites ranging from -166 to -200. If you think “El Cucuy” will win then go with the -166 line. Gaethje is listed at odds from +140 to +170. If you’re picking an upset then take the +170 betting line.
Ferguson is on a 12 fight win streak and has become one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. Nine of those 12 fights have ended via stoppage. For his career, Ferguson has 12 wins via TKO/KO and nine wins via submission.
Gaethje is 21-2 with a three fight win streak. He’s currently 3-2 in the UFC, but was 18-0 before joining the promotion. Gaethje has 18 wins via TKO/KO and just one via submission. Only two of his fights have gone the distance and he’s 2-0 in those contests.
Gaehtje has the knockout power and strength advantage, but Ferguson is the more technical striker and the superior grappler with his jiu-jitsu.
In addition to the announcement that Tony Ferguson will take on Justin Gaethje in the main event for the interim lightweight title, the UFC also announced the following fights including their opening betting lines:
Jessica Andrade (+185) vs Rose Namajunas (-225)
Greg Hardy (-170) vs Yorgan De Castro (+150)
Vicente Luque (-250) vs Niko Price (+190)
Jeremy Stephens (+190) vs Calvin Kattar (-230)
Francis Ngannou (-300) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+250)
Jacare Souza (-155) vs Uriah Hall (+135)
Alexander Hernandez (-225) vs Omar Morales (+175)
Marlon Vera (+115) vs Ray Borg (-145)
Michael Johnson (-250) vs Khama Worthy (+190)
Sijara Eubanks (-320) vs Sarah Moras (+260)
Ryan Spann (-270) vs Sam Alvey (+210)
This is a stacked lineup with numerous fights that should be entertaining.
Starting with the prelims, there are numerous fights to be excited for like the Top 15 lightweight showdown between Alexander Hernandez and Omar Morales. Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is a Top 15 matchup of two rugged middleweights.
Yet, the most exciting fight on the prelims is the main event for this portion of the card as the #2 ranked Francis Ngannou takes on the #6 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik. That free fight will surely draw plenty of eyes considering the popularity of Ngannou and his chances of a heavyweight title fight in the near future.
The main card will open with a Top 10 featherweight bout as longtime veteran #7 Jeremy Stephens takes on #9 Calvin Kattar.
Up and coming heavyweight sluggers Greg Hardy and Yorgan De Castro have been added to the main card of this event as well as an explosive welterweight clash between #13 Vicente Luque and Niko Price.
The co-main event is still going to be the women’s strawweight rematch between #1 ranked Jessica Andrade and #2 ranked Rose Namajunas. This will certainly be a classic.
Any Potential Wagers for UFC 249 Opening Odds
Upon first glance, there are only a few betting lines that I like for this event. More than likely, the Over/Unders and UFC 249 prop bets will be more financially beneficial for UFC bettors.
As for the moneylines, I like Tony Ferguson at -170 and Jessica Andrade +185. I think Ferguson will win this fight and Andrade has the potential to beat Namajunas. Her odds are appealing for a flier.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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