UFC 249

UFC 249: Justin Gaethje stuns Tony Ferguson to snatch interim lightweight belt

"The Highlight" comes up with big performance

Justin Gaethje is the type of guy to shock Tony Ferguson and snatch the UFC interim lightweight champion at UFC 249.

Gaethje turned in an amazing performance to overcome the strikes and durability of Ferguson and pull off a fifth round TKO victory in the main event.

With undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov watching from abroad, Gaethje poured cold water on a fifth bout attempt between the two by stopping Ferguson with unrelenting strikes that forced referee Herb Dean to call the bout at 3:39 of the final frame.

Both fighters came out swinging, and landed. Ferguson dropped Gaethje late in the second round with an uppercut, but the horn sounded before he could follow up. From then on, Gaethje started to overcome the Ferguson with power shots that opened him up on his forehead and left eye.

Still, Ferguson continued to move forward in the fourth, landing some good strikes, but Gaethje returned them and more.

The victory cements Gaethje into the No. 1 contender’s spot and a date with Nurmagomedov in a future unification bout.

For Ferguson, a 10-fight win streak and four cancelled title shot fights with Nurmagomedov is all he has to show for his amazing 10-fight win streak.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.

UFC FGHT PASS PRELIM 

RYAN SPANN VS. SAM ALVEY 

WINNER: RYAN SPANN VIA SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: RYAN SPANN VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Much closer than I thought, Alvey came on strong as Spann looked hurt. Is Alvey on the bubble with four straight losses?

BRYCE MITCHELL VS. CHARLES ROSA

WINNER: BRYCE MITCHELL VIA UD 

ANDREWS PREDICTION: BRYCE MITCHELL VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Didn’t get the finish, credit Rosa for that, but put on a ground clinic. Get that man some camo shorts.

#7 VICENTE LUQUE VS. NIKO PRICE

WINNER: VICENTE LUQUE VIA TKO (DOCTOR’S STOPPAGE) R3 3:37

ANDREWS PREDICTION: VINCENTE LUQUE VIA TKO

Andrews: Luque has Price’s number. Good win.

ESPN PRELIMS

#7 CARLA ESPARZA VS. #8 MICHELLE WATERSON

WINNER: CARLA ESPARZA VIA SD (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: MICHELLE WATERSON VIA UD

Andrews: Esparza did better striking than I thought, but Waterson should have won the fight.

#12 ALEKSEI OLEINEIK VS. FABRICIO WERDUM 

WINNER: ALEKSEI OLEINEIK VIA SD (28-29,29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ALEKSEI OLEINEIK VIA TKO

Andrews: I thought Aleksei would catch a rusty Werdum striking and he did, but couldn’t finish him. Still, good win.

#6 DONALD CERRONE VS. #15 ANTHONY PETTIS

WINNER: ANTHONY PETTIS VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DONALD CERRONE VIA UD

Andrews: It’s time for Cowboy to hang them up. He did better, but it wasn’t good enough. He’s no longer a gatekeeper.

MAIN CARD 

GREG HARDY VS. YORGAN DE CASTRO

https://twitter.com/ufc/status/1259310214890827777?s=20

WINNER: GREG HARDY VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: GREG HARDY VIA TKO

Andrews: Hardy showed grit overcoming the leg kicks and outworking De Castro.

#7 JEREMY STEPHENS VS. #9 CALVIN KATTAR

WINNER: CALVIN KATTAR VIA TKO R2 (STRIKES)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: CALVIN KATTAR VIA UD

Andrews: Wow! Stephens is hard to finish, but Calvin did it.

#2  FRANCIS NGANNOU VS. #6 JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK 

WINNER: FRANCIS NGANNOU VIA TO (STRIKES) R1 0:20

ANDREWS PREDICTION: JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK VIA TKO

Andrews: Rozenstruik got caught early. Good job by the Predator.

HENRY CEJUDO VS. DOMINICK CRUZ

WINNER: HENRY CEJUDO VIA TKO R2 4:58

ANDREWS PREDICTION: HENRY CEJUDO VIA UD 

Andrews: Kind of an early stoppage. Cejudo retires, but I still think he lost to Mighty Mouse. Give him credit for the win, the retirement feels bittersweet. There was still much more to do.

#1 TONY FERGUSON VS. #4 JUSTIN GAETHJE 

WINNER: JUSTIN GAETHJE VIA TKO (STRIKES) R5 3:39

ANDREWS PREDICTION: TONY FERGUSON VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Wow! Gaethje comes up big with an amazing performance. Give Tony credit for trying to hang in there, but Justin kept landing.

@kenaiandrews UFC 249: Justin Gaethje stuns Tony Ferguson to snatch interim lightweight belt

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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