Current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and former interim champion, Tony Ferguson, were set to finally lock horns at UFC 249 after four failed attempts at making the fight happen. Each fight in the past was cancelled due to one of the fighters pulling out due to injury, and now with the Covid-19 virus forcing Khabib to pull out again due to quarantine measures, its safe to say that this fight is just not meant to be. What was looking like a vibrant and exciting card, looked battered, bruised and ready for the referee to step in and call it off, and unfortunately, he did. The entire fight card was postponed, and Despite Justin Gaethje stepping in to fight for the interim lightweight crown, it seemed to be a case of one step forward and two steps back, as the co-main event had been put in jeopardy as former UFC straw weight champion, Rose Namajunas pulled out of her highly anticipated comeback fight against the woman who took her crown, Jessica Andradje.
Would It Have Been Worth Watching?
With sports events being cancelled as a preventative measure against the Covid-19 virus, its safe to say that we sports fans would take anything at this point in time. While I'm sure most of us would've even accepted a fight filmed on an Iphone in Khabib's literal backyard, Justin Gaethje was a very good substitute, all things considered. A veteran of the sport and an exciting striker with abnormal durability, Justin earned the fight on the back of an impressive three fight win streak which saw him finish all his opponents in the first round. A fan favourite who's never in a boring fight, Gaethje's power and heart definitely would've given him a good shout against Ferguson, although only time will tell if he can one day handle Ton'y unorthodox style and pressure.
Possible Heavyweight Co-Main Event
With doubt cast over the co-main event, it seemed the best move would've been to move the highly anticipated heavyweight clash between well know bomb merchants, Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, to the co-main event slot. Two fighters who were meant to headline their own event earlier in the year, would've had their opportunity come April 18. A fight that would no doubt have decided the next no.1 contender for the heavyweight title, Ngannou and Rozenstruik are two heavy hitters that have been on an absolute tear. Ngannou seemes to have found himself again after a two fight skid, finishing his last three opponents in the first round. He remains eager to get another shot against Stipe Miocic, who showed that heavy hands are sometimes not enough. Rozenstruik has also introduced himself as a new nightmare in the heavyweight division, finishing all four of his fights in the UFC, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by knocking out Overeem in his last fight.
While the fight seemed exciting on paper, what fans should prepare themselves for is the possibility of a boring fight. Ngannou faced a similar heavy hitter in Derick Lewis in 2018, each fighter so respectful for the other's power, that the entire fight turned into a cautious staring contest that favoured Lewis in the end. Either the fight ends quickly or we're looking at a boring slog.
Regardless, a UFC event would've been a welcome change of pace during this quarantine period. We'll just have to stick around for normal days to return, enjoy the free fights :).
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro
Vicente 'The Silent Assassin' Luque vs. Niko 'The Hybrid' Price
Jeremy 'Lil' Heathen' Stephens vs. Calvin 'The Boston Finisher' Kattar
Francis 'The Predator' Ngannou vs. Jairzinho 'Bigi Boy' Rozenstruik
Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza vs. Uriah 'Primetime' HallUriah Hall
Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer vs. Alexander 'The Great' Hernandez
Ray 'The Tazmexican Devil' Borg vs. Marlon 'Chito' Vera
Michael 'The Menace' Johnson vs. Khama 'The Deathstar' Worthy
Sijara 'Sarj' Eubanks vs. Sarah 'Cheesecake' Moras
Ryan 'Superman' Spann vs. Sam 'Smile'n' Alvey