UFC 249: "Ferguson vs Gaethje" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to action tonight for UFC 249: “Ferguson vs Gaethje” at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The main event featured a UFC Interim Lightweight Championship bout between Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje.

In the co-feature, UFC Bantamweight Champion Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo defended against former champ Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz. Francis “The Predator” Ngannou met Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik at heavyweight. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the UFC 249 card.


UFC Interim Lightweight Championship

Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje vs Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson

Round 1:
After an exchange of leg kicks, Ferguson lunged in with a one-two and Gaethje answered with another leg kick and a lead left hook. He followed with a right cross as Ferguson threw a leg kick. Gaethje just missed with a haymaker left hook and Ferguson responded with a head kick and a jab. A hard one-two landed for Gaethje with 80 seconds to go in the round and Ferguson answered back with another head kick. A right hook landed for Gaethje and the fighters traded more jabs. Gaethje landed a huge left hook late in the back-and-forth round. 10-9 Gaethje.

Round 2:
Both men missed with haymaker rights early in round two and Gaethje landed another hard left hook. He followed with another one to Ferguson’s jaw and a right hand soon after. Gaethje continued to score with overhand lefts and rights as the round progressed and he mixed in leg kicks as well. Ferguson replied with a head kick, but Gaethje stunned him with a one-two and another left hook. Ferguson kicked in return and ate two more punches. Gaethje continued to score with hard shots, but Ferguson landed a solid right hand of his own. Two more hooks landed for Gaethje late in the round, but Ferguson dropped him to a knee with an uppercut just before the bell sounded. 10-9 Gaethje.

Round 3:
The fighters continued to trade power strikes in round three and Gaethje landed hooks to both of Ferguson’s eyes, which swelled up considerably. An overhand right rocked Ferguson, but he cracked Gaethje with a counter right hand as Gaethje moved forward. Gaethje fired off more power hooks and cuts opened near both of Ferguson’s eyes. The fighters continued to trade punches and Ferguson threw an unorthodox leg sweep that knocked Gaethje off-balance. In the final 30 seconds, Gaethje landed a head kick and a right cross. 10-9 Gaethje.

Round 4:
Gaethje continued to land powerful leg kicks and right and left hooks that knocked Ferguson off-balance. He hurt Ferguson with a leg kick that spun him around and badly rocked him with a right hook soon after. Ferguson stumbled backward and Gaethje continued to attack with leg kicks and power punches. Time was called soon after when Gaethje was kicked in the groin. Action resumed and Ferguson landed a left hook to the body. Gaethje hurt him with another leg kick and a right hook, but Ferguson stayed on his feet and attempted a head kick before the bell. 10-9 Gaethje.

Round 5:
Gaethje hurt Ferguson with a right hook early in the final round and he followed with a combination and a leg kick. Gaethje countered a leg kick with a one-two that nearly dropped Ferguson and he snapped his head back with a jab. Gaethje blasted Ferguson with more punches that spun him around and he dropped him to a knee with a counter jab. Two huge shots landed for Gaethje and he continued to batter Ferguson until a final left hook rocked Ferguson and he wobbled on his feet. Ferguson staggered backward and referee Herb Dean waved off the fight.

Winner: Justin Gaethje by TKO (Punch) at 3:39 of round five. He improves to 22-2-0 and becomes the UFC Interim Lightweight Champion.


UFC Bantamweight Championship

Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo vs Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz

Round 1:
Cejudo struck first with a leg kick as Cruz circled on the outside and he followed with more chopping kicks as the round progressed. Cruz stuffed a takedown, but Cejudo caught a knee and briefly got him down. Cruz scrambled up to his feet and he landed a jab-kick combo. Cejudo continued to throw leg kicks in the final minute and both men landed jabs. 10-9 Cejudo.

Round 2:
Both fighters threw leg kicks early in round two and Cruz followed with an uppercut-hook combo. Cejudo responded with a short right cross and a leg kick, then ducked under looping punches from Cruz. A second combination landed, however, and Cejudo backed up momentarily. Big right hands were exchanged and Cejudo kicked to the body. Both men landed powerful leg kicks and Cejudo shrugged off a takedown attempt. Time was called after Cejudo sustained a bad cut along his hairline as a result of a clash of heads. Action resumed and Cejudo hurt Cruz with a big knee that dropped Cruz to his back. Cejudo dove in with punches as Cruz got to his knees against the base of the cage and the fight was waved off.

Winner: Henry Cejudo by TKO (Knee & Punches) at 4:58 of round two. He improves to 16-2-0 and remains the UFC Bantamweight Champion.


Francis “The Predator” Ngannou vs Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik

Round 1:
After a brief exchange of strikes, Ngannou rushed at Rozenstruik with heavy punches that dropped him unconscious against the base of the cage and the brief bout was waved off.

Winner: Francis Ngannou by KO (Punches) at 0:20 of round one. He improves to 15-3-0.


Calvin Kattar vs Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens

Round 1:
Stephens scored with a hard right hand and a kick to the chest early on, which prompted Kattar to answer back with a flurry. The pace remained high as the fighters traded quick combinations and more leg kicks. Stephens continued to chop away at Kattar’s lead leg and he landed a nice right hand soon after. Kattar landed a hard one-two in return, but it was immediately countered by a pair of body kicks from Stephens. Kattar began to favour his left leg as Stephens chopped away with kicks, but Kattar landed a huge right hook and that set off an exchange of power punches late in the round. 10-9 Stephens.

Round 2:
Stephens continued to keep the pressure on with jabs and leg kicks in the second round until Kattar stunned him with a counter flurry. He followed up with more looping punches and Stephens retreated momentarily to the cage. More punches were exchanged until Kattar floored Stephens with a massive right elbow to the jaw. Stephens was barely conscious on the ground, but the fight was not immediately stopped and so Kattar landed a few more elbows on the ground including one that opened a big gash on Stephens’s forehead.

Winner: Calvin Kattar by KO (Elbows) at 2:42 of round two. He improves to 21-4-0.


Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy vs Yorgan “The Mad Titan” De Castro

Round 1:
The fight began with an exchange of right hands and De Castro followed with another one that spun Hardy around. De Castro landed a lead left hook and a counter one-two. He followed with a leg kick and backed Hardy up with a left hand. De Castro backed Hardy up with a right hook and a leg kick, but Hardy regained his footing and landed a leg kick. Big punches were exchanged and Hardy landed his best combination of the fight. He followed with a front kick to the face, but De Castro was unfazed. 10-9 De Castro.

Round 2:
Both men landed leg kicks to open round two, but Hardy’s left leg was clearly damaged from the first round and it continued to swell up. Winging punches were exchanged and Hardy struggled with his lack of mobility. As the round progressed, the pace slowed down and Hardy jabbed from a distance. He landed a solid leg kick of his own and continued to jab as De Castro threw nothing in return. 10-9 Hardy.

Round 3:
Hardy opened the final round with a hard right cross and De Castro missed with a lead left hook. He landed kicks to the inside and outside of Hardy’s left leg, but Hardy responded with two kicks of his own. The fighters continued to trade leg kicks until De Castro slipped on the mat and fell. Hardy stood over him and kicked at his legs before allowing De Castro to stand up. Little transpired in the final minute, but Hardy remained the aggressor. Uneventful round. 10-9 Hardy.

Winner: Greg Hardy by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 6-2-0, 1 NC.


(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)