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UFC249: Ferguson Vs Gaethje Prelims & Main Card

Prelims

Sam Alvey (33-13) Vs Ryan Spann (17-5)

If you’re unfamiliar with both fighters, I’m here to help. Ryan Spann is currently on a 3-fight win streak. His last win was against Devin Clark at UFC Tampa, which was a submission finish. Before his UFC debut we met him on the Contender Series, where he ultimately lost to Karl Roberson. Since then, he hasn’t looked back, he’s currently on a 7-fight win streak. He will be standing across the Octagon against UFC fan favorite and veteran Sam Alvey. Sam made the switch to light heavyweight in 2018, and hasn’t won a fight yet. As much as I like Sam Alvey, he’s going to get finished by strike or submission. Spann trains out of FortisMMA with Coach Sayif Saud. They’re too smart over there to let Spann take this L. All Alvey has is a real punchers chance.  

Bryce Mitchell (12-0) Vs Charles Rosa (12-3)

This is your typical grappler vs grappler fight. Both fighters love to take it to the Mat and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case again. Bryce Mitchell was a fighter on TUF but he lost in the finale by submission. Since his submission lost he’s rattled off 3 UFC wins in a row now, including an insane “Twister” finish over fellow fighter Matt Sayles. He will now be facing his toughest test against the veteran Charles Rosa. Rosa was coming off a 2 1/2 year layoff and got the finish over Manny Bermudez. Rosa stood blow for blow with Shane Burgos before ultimately getting knocked out. Both fighters are wizards on the mat, and have decent striking. I’m honestly torn in this fight, I don’t really know who will win. I’m going to lean Rosa because of the experience. That being said, I hope I’m wrong. Bryce Mitchell is hilarious and seems like he has A LOT of potential. 

Vicente Luque (17-7-1) Vs Niko Price (14-3)

This is a rematch 3 years in the making. Vicente Luque is coming off his first loss since 2017, he lost to Stephen Thompson though so it makes sense. Niko Price is coming off one of the most insane KO’s in UFC history where he slept James Vick with a up-kick from the bottom. Vick and Luque both have power in those hands. Any fighter has a chance to put their opponent out here. The only thing is, we have seen Niko finished at least 3 times since joining the UFC. Vicente seems to have a iron chin, in his last 4 fights he has taken 400 strikes and has yet to slow down. That’s so much damage to be taking and Vicente is always open to getting hit. I have to go with Vicente winning again being the more technical fighter, but eventually that damage is going to catch up to him. So I might sprinkle a little on Niko Price by KO. It’s going to be an insane fight for as long as it goes.  

Uriah Hall (16-9) Vs Jacare Souza (26-8)

This is a very very very interesting fight to be honest. This is one of the closest match ups on the card. Some could say this is a striking vs grappler fight. Uriah Hall is now training at FortisMMA, since he’s been there he has looked to be his best self. His last time out he won a grueling match with Antonio Carlos Junior. Jacare Souza was one of the best middleweights ever before losing to Gastelum, Whittaker, and Hermansson. After the Hermansson loss he took his try at Light Heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz. Unfortunately that wasn’t the right move for him, he was very stagnant and didn’t want to engage. Uriah Hall has the ability to knock anyone out. He has one of the best striking abilities out of the whole roster. He LITERALLY was scared of himself because he was knocking people unconscious. This fight could go so many different ways, Jacare could grind on Uriah like ACJ did in the 3rd round but he would have to implement that game plan first, or Hall is going to defend the takedowns. He will either piece up Jacare for a split decision victory, or eventually catch him with something clean and put him out.  My money is on Uriah Hall, especially out of FortisMMA, and Jacare just looks so slow now.  

Carla Esparza (16-6) Vs Michelle Waterson (17-7)

You know how I feel about some female MMA fights. This is another one that I could honestly care less about. Both fighters are veterans, Carla Esparza is quietly and sneakily one of the best SW alive. Michelle Waterson is good too, don’t get me wrong, but she struggles defending takedowns. Carla’s last time out she won a very close battle with rising UFC Straw weight Alexa Grasso. The takedowns in that fight were what made the difference. Michelle Waterson and Alexa Grasso kind of have the same fighting style. I see this fight playing out exactly like Esparza Vs Garasso did to be honest. Michelle will win the stand up battle but will be taken to the mat a good amount of times. It’s definitely a toss up, but I have to go with my gut and say Carla Esparza 29-28 splits decision victory. 

Aleksei Olenik (58-13-1) Vs Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1)

Werdum is coming off a 2-year lay off and we really don’t know what he’s going to be like with no PED’s in his system or whatever it was he was popped for. I would be worried normally, but he’s facing Aleksei Olenik. Olenik is a great fighter but his best asset is his submission game. That ISN’T going to work against Werdum regardless of the layoff. I see this fight playing out only one way and that’s a Fabricio stoppage. I will even go on to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if Werdum won in less than 7 mins. 

Anthony Pettis (22-10) Vs Donald Cerrone (36-14)

Wow talk about a tough fight to breakdown. Both fighters are on a very steep decline. Pettis is coming off back to back losses and was even recently finished by Carlos Diego Ferreira by submission. Whereas Cerrone is coming off back to back to back L’s all by Ko. I don’t trust either fighter as far as I can throw them anymore. If I’m Anthony Pettis I go balls to the walls for the first round and just pressure cowboy like Gaethje and Conor did. If Pettis can’t finish him though in that first round, Cerrone is going to to start piecing Pettis up and eventually get him to quit in his corner or fake an injury. I lean to Pettis just because Cerrone has suffered 3 knock outs in a row. That being said though, I don’t trust my pick or Pettis at all but that’s what I’m going with.  

Main card

Greg Hardy (5-2) Vs Yorgan De Castro (6-0)

Greg hardy, man what an odd UFC stint so far. He’s been DQ’d twice, faced Alexander Volkov and broke his hand, and finished 2 cans who are completely outside the UFC now. Yorgan De Castro on the other hand is a Contender Series alumnus and is on a 2-fight win streak, 2 finishes in a row. Both fighters have power and athleticism but neither of them are technical. Greg Hardy has been training out of ATT and could have been working on his game all this time though. Yorgan De Castro has the chance to get the finish and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. He has to defend a takedown if Greg Hardy wants to take it there, chop his leg down, and go in for the kill. This fight is a toss-up, I don’t have a betting favorite. I want to see Yorgan De Castro succeed, so let’s hope he can win. 

Jeremy Stephens (28-17) Vs Calvin Kattar (20-4)

This is going to be a very fun fight to say the least. This fight is tailor made for Calvin Kattar to get the win. I love Jeremy Stephens but unfortunately, he’s not upper echelon anymore. Jeremy Stephens has now lost 3 fights in a row. Kattar is coming off his first loss against Zabit Magomedsharipov. Had that fight been a 5 round fight though, things might have played out differently. Kattar is a very clean and crisp boxer, whereas Stephens is a wild man. Outside of a puncher’s chance, I don’t see how Jeremy Stephens wins this one. I got a Kattar by decision or body shot knockout. Stephens has taken far too much damage and it’s just going to keep adding up. 

Francis Ngannou (14-3) Vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0)

The battle of two KILLERS, both fighters have an insane finish rate. Ngannou is always looking to get the finish, and so is Jairzinho. Ngannou is on a 3-fight finish streak decapitating Blaydes, Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos along the way. Jair has finished 9 of his 10 opponents in his MMA career. This is going to be a crazy fight, both fighters have power out of this world. Any clean strike could put their opponent out. Rozenstruik has the striking edge because he’s got the kickboxing prowess but Ngannou is literally taking people’s heads off their shoulders. Unfortunately, I love both fighters and don’t want either to lose. I’m going to have to go with Francis Ngannou by devastating finish, I’ve been riding the train and I’m not getting off yet. 

Henry Cejudo (15-2) Vs Dominick Cruz (22-2)

2020, the year of the coronavirus and UFC champions fighting fighters off a loss for a title. In all seriousness, this is a pretty tough fight to call. It’s hard to gauge where Cruz is at in his career seeing as he’s had a 3-year layoff since my boy Cody G outclassed him for 25 minutes. Dominick Cruz could go out there, use his reach, and jab him all night. I just really don’t see that happening. Henry Cejudo was losing to Marlon Moraes before he ultimately turned it on once Moraes started to gas out. If Cruz is the same guy he was 4 years ago, then Henry Cejudo is in for a long night of jabs and foot movement. This fight is not worth betting on, I really don’t know who wins. I just can’t bet someone who’s coming off multiple surgeries and a 3 year layoff. 

Tony Ferguson (25-3) Vs Justin Gaethje (21-2)

We have lost Khabib Vs Tony officially now for the 5th or 6th time. That doesn’t matter though, this fight is going to be much more exciting and just an all-out violent war. Gaethje is currently on 3-fight finish streak. He’s decimated Cerrone, Barboza, and James Vick along the way. Tony Ferguson on the other hand is on a 12-fight win streak, not having gone the distance since 2012. Tony Ferguson is the favorite and rightfully so, but you can’t sleep on Gaethje here. Justin has insane one punch KO power, ridiculous wrestling, and an underrated gas tank. Tony Ferguson is called The Boogeyman for a reason. His cardio is second to none, his striking is unpredictable, and he has dangerous submissions he can use. This fight is going to be a brawl and if it ends in the first two rounds, we will have a new Interim lightweight champion.  Personally, I see Tony Ferguson getting the late stoppage finish, but anything can happen. I’m steering clear of betting, this one is too close to call. 

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