UFC 249: Ferguson vs Gaethje – Tips & Preview

After a 2-month hiatus, the UFC returns this Sunday with another huge event in Jacksonville. UFC 249 is a stacked card, headlined by a Lightweight battle between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz will battle for the Bantamweight title in our Co-Main, while Ngannou and Rozenstruik do battle at Heavyweight. We’ll preview all 3 of these fights, providing a best bet on each.  

Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje, Lightweight, Main Event
Ferguson to Win $1.55

Tony Ferguson: Ferguson enters this bout with a very impressive 25-3 record through 28 career fights. He has won each of his last 12 fights, including consecutive finishes against Lee, Pettis, and Cerrone. Known for his elite power and strong ground game, he has 12 wins by knockout and a further 8 by submission.

Justin Gaethje: Gaethje has also had a storied career to date, entering this clash with a 21-2 career record. He has won each of his last 3 contests, all first round knockouts of Vick, Barboza, and Cerrone. Known primarily for his elite power and speed, 18 of his wins thus far have come via knockout.

Prediction: Ferguson to Win $1.55

While shortened training camps could be the great equalizer here, I still think Ferguson is the better of these two fighters. He is much more versatile than Gaethje, particularly in the ground game. He also desperately wants a title bout with Khabib, giving him added motivation to win this one. With all 3 methods of victory firmly on the table, I’ll stick with the straight up win market.

Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz, Bantamweight, Co-Main
Cruz to Win $2.90

Henry Cejudo: A former Olympic gold medallist, Cejudo enters this clash with a 15-2 career record. He has won each of his last 5 fights and currently holds both the Bantamweight and Flyweight title belts. His wins tend to come by either KO or on points, with 7 knockouts and 8 decision wins thus far.

Dominick Cruz: One of the most storied Bantamweights of all time, Cruz enters this game with a 22-2 career record. He has not fought since December of 2016, where he lost his title belt to Cody Garbrandt. He doesn’t tend to fight on the ground too much, with 8 knockouts and 13 decision victories to his name thus far.

Prediction: Cruz to Win $2.90

Despite a very long lay-off, I still think Cruz has plenty left in the tank having just turned 35. Cejudo is largely overrated by the current market and has only experienced 2 previous UFC fights at Bantamweight. Cruz is at a disadvantage in the wrestling department, but I expect his takedown defence to keep this one largely on the feet. At long odds of $2.90, this is a value and +EV play on Cruz pulling off the upset.

Francis Ngannou vs Jarzinho Rozenstruik, Heavyweight
Ngannou by KO

Francis Ngannou: A beloved figure on the current UFC circuit, Ngannou boasts a career record of 14-3. He has won each of his last 3 fights, all unsurprisingly first-round finishes. Known primarily for his incredible power, he has 10 knockouts and 4 submissions in his 14 wins thus far.

Jarzinho Rozenstruik: Rozenstruik has really come on of late, boasting a 10-0 career MMA record that includes 4 UFC victories. He made his living as a kickboxer in the years prior, going 76-8-1 in 85 career bouts. His main asset is also his elite power, with 9 of his 10 wins thus far coming by knockout.

Prediction: Ngannou by KO

These are two fighters with a very similar style, one that I think Ngannou is simply better at. Rozenstruik is still relatively new to the UFC scene and just hasn’t faced someone of Ngannou’s quality yet. I’d be surprised if he lasts the distance here, making Ngannou by KO the best value bet on the board.