There was a brief period of time when the UFC was going to buck the trend of professional sports leagues shutting down, postponing and/or cancelling events. In fact, UFC President Dana White boldly declared that he would only cancel events if the country was shut down.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts and bravado, the UFC succumbed to the same restrictions that others sports adhered to. The MMA powerhouse cancelled multiple events leading up to their big PPV show on April 18th UFC 249, which they were hoping could still take place.
It appears their hope is going to pay off. With the calendar closing in on April, and a possibility that this country gets back to work around Easter, the UFC is ramping up their efforts to make UFC 249 a spectacular event. However, nobody knows where the show will take place at.
As of now, Dana White is keeping the venue a secret. However, that hasn’t stopped MMA sports betting sites from listing odds on where UFC 249 will take place. Let’s step inside the betting octagon and see if we can pick the right location.
With roughly three weeks until the scheduled date for UFC 249, all signs are pointing to this event taking place despite the coronavirus restrictions. In fact, Dana White declared that the location is 99.9% confirmed. White also would go on to give us a peak into their efforts to make this a spectacular show:
“We’re trying to build the baddest card that’s ever been done in the history of the sport. Some of the things are going to work out and some of the things might not work out. We’re trying to figure out if [some things] don’t work out, what we do.”
Early guesses by some pundits are that this event will be held at an international location. Oddsmakers are leaning towards that thought process as well, considering seven of the 10 options for this prop bet are international.
We can safely rule out North Korea (+10000), International Waters (+2500) and Saudi Arabia (+800) due to political and logistical issues. We can also laugh off the possibility of Area 51 (+8000) as that’s off limits.
I don’t see Mexico (+500) or South Africa (+1000) being realistic options due to travel bans and closed borders. So, that leaves us with the following realistic choices for the UFC 249 “closed-show” event:
Florida is the odds on favorite to land this event. One reason is that Combat Night held a fight card on March 21st in Jacksonville. Another reason is that the WWE has run shows in Orlando and AEW has run shows in Jacksonville. So, there are events still taking place in Florida with no fans in attendance.
With that said, Florida is on the verge of implementing further coronavirus restrictions, which could impact MMA and pro wrestling promotions holding events within the state.
As of this writing, Orange County has put a “stay at home” order in place. That rules out Orlando and other cities in the county as a potential location.
Jacksonville is still a legitimate option for the UFC, but they will have to be in the loop on what the Florida Governor is going to do next before booking this event in the state.
You can’t rule out Russia being a potential landing spot for the UFC. Recently, Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to Russia to further his training camp for this fight. It would be a massive hit with the country if they could get this show that features the top Russian fighter in MMA.
However, despite how much sense this would make, there are still many hurdles and concerns:
Would Tony Ferguson want to travel to Russia to take on Nurmagomedov in his home country?
How difficult will Russia’s travel restrictions be?
United Arab Emirates (+300)
The United Arab Emirates could end up being the host country for UFC 249. More specifically, Abu Dhabi which hosted UFC 242 last September when Khabib Nurmagomedov fought Dustin Poirier. Khabib’s father also speculated that this event could take place in Abu Dhabi.
It makes sense going back to a country that paid a lot of money for the UFC to be there last year. With a massive fight like Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson headlining the card, I can see even more money being thrown at the UFC to hold the PPV show here.
The big concern would be travel restrictions for various fighters including International travel to and from the United States.
The state of Nevada, especially Las Vegas, is shut down. So, it’s hard to imagine that the UFC will be able to hold an event there with the state being on lockdown until an unknown date.
All casinos and their respective venues are shut down as well, which means the UFC would have to hold the event at their training center. That’s not a bad idea, but Nevada might not be open for business by time this event is ready to take place.
Of the longshots, this is the only one that is worthy of a small flier.
UFC 249 Card and Possible Changes
Dana White has made it perfectly clear that the show is going to have a full card of 13 fights, which includes a full set of preliminary bouts. However, he realizes that there will be some last minute changes and substitutions for the lineup.
As of now, the initial UFC 249 lineup can be seen below:
Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) vs Tony Ferguson (25-3)
Jacare Souza (27-8) vs Uriah Hall (15-9)
Jessica Andrade (20-7) vs Rose Namajunas (8-4)
Gian Villante (17-11) vs Ben Rothwell (37-12)
Jeremy Stephens (28-17) vs Calvin Kattar (21-4)
Khama Worthy (14-6) vs Ottman Azaitar (12-0)
Sijara Eubanks (3-4) vs Sarah Moras (6-4)
Lyman Good (21-5) vs Belal Muhammad (16-3)
Karl Robinson (9-2) vs Makhmud Muradov (24-6)
Omar Nurmagomedov (12-0) vs Hunter Azure (7-0)
Islam Makhachev (18-1) vs Alexander Hernandez (11-2)
There is one potential change that’s causing a buzz. Dana White is trying to move the heavyweight battle between Francis Ngannou (14-3) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) to this show. The two were supposed to headline the UFC Columbus show on April 11th, but that was cancelled.
Ngannou commented on the possibility of fighting on UFC 249:
“I have a good chance to be on that card. They are trying to check every fighter to see if everyone is healthy. Do a medical exam that takes four to five days to come back. I assume that’s what they are doing for the potential fight card. That might be why we don’t have news yet, because we don’t have the medical exams completed.”
This would make a great addition to the main card. In fact, I see it becoming the co-main event if they can pull it off, which would bump Andrade vs Namajunas down a spot on the card.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) vs Tony Ferguson (25-3) for the UFC lightweight championship belt is the clear-cut top billing for this event. It’s the 5th time that the UFC has tried to make this fight happen.
Currently, Nurmagomedov is a large betting favorite with odds ranging from -265 to -315. Tony Ferguson is an underdog with odds from +190 to +260. I believe Ferguson provides an opportunity for betting value with the higher odds. He’s going to be a tough challenger for Nurmagomedov.
Joe Rogan Won’t Be at UFC 249
UFC’s top commentator Joe Rogan will not be at this event regardless of where it takes place. The longtime MMA personality stated that he won’t be the commentator due to concerns over the coronavirus:
“I guess someone’s going to commentate it – it’s not gonna be me. UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18. I don’t know how they’re gonna do that. I don’t know if they’re gonna be able to do that in the United States. They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people, just in an open arena.”
It will be disappointing not hearing Rogan on commentary as he’s become synonymous with UFC PPV events. However, it’s certainly understandable.
Where Will UFC 249 Take Place?
In my opinion, this wager comes down to two options: Florida and the United Arab Emirates. UFC 242 was a hit last year and I can see the UAE making a strong push to bring UFC 249 to the region. Additionally, Nurmagomedov is a star over there.
With that said, the easiest solution is holding the event in Florida since most of the fighters are in the United States already. Additionally, it will be easier for a handful of fighters to travel internationally to the United States then it would be for the bulk of the fighters and crew to travel from the USA to the UAE.
For this wager, I would go with Florida. If you want to improve your odds of winning, place $100 on Florida and a $100 on the UAE.
UFC 249 Location Bet:Will Be Held in Florida (+225)
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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