Lightweight contender Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson 25-3, 12 KOs, 8 SUBs will meet knockout artist Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje 21-2, 18 KOs, 1 SUB at UFC 249 on Saturday, May 9 at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The card airs live starting 10pm ET.
So the fifth time wasn’t the charm. Also, Khabib vs. Tony is never happening. Ever. The sooner you accept that fact, the sooner you can move forward as an MMA fan. This time, blame it on a global pandemic. Also, can you really hold it against Khabib for not wanting to fight under these circumstances?
But Dana White’s determination or stubbornness to throw a show during the pandemic has led to a new UFC event: Justin Gaethje will replace the Russian in the headlining fight.
This...is an amazing freaking fight. But it’s replacing the one matchup that has eluded the MMA world for years. It’s like being promised a Lamborghini but given a new Corvette instead. We’re still gonna enjoy the hell out of that Corvette, but in the back of our minds, we’ll be thinking about how cool that Lambo would’ve been.
It’s also fair to question whether we’re getting the best version of this matchup. How do you hold a training camp while social distancing? Has Gaethje had time to put together a legitimate training camp?
There’s also the very real possibility that Tony loses...and then what? The title fight is off the table, and it ruins the very fabric of one of the most important matchups in UFC history. When else are you gonna get 25-0 vs. 12-fight winning streak, for the title.
For now, at least there’s something to bet on in our UFC online sportsbook. The UFC odds at Betcris opened with El Cucuy as a clear -175 favorite, giving Gaethje +144 on the comeback. Let’s break down the matchup and get to your best betting options.
UFC Odds at Betcris
|Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje Fight Odds
|Justin Gaethje +150
|Tony Ferguson -190
|Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +335 / -505
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Significant Striking MMA Stats
|UFC 249 Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje Striking MMA Stats
|Strikes landed per minute: Ferguson 5.51 / Gaethje 8.5
||Striking accuracy: Ferguson 44% / Gaethje 54%
|Strikes absorbed per minute: Ferguson 3.55 / Gaethje 10.23
||Striking defense: Ferguson 63% / Gaethje 53%
Grappling MMA Stats
|UFC 249 Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje Grappling MMA Stats
|Takedowns per 15 minutes: Ferguson 0.6 / Gaethje 0
|Takedown accuracy: Ferguson 42% / Gaethje 0
|Takedown defense: Ferguson 76% / Gaethje 80%
|Submissions per 15 minutes: Ferguson 1.49 / Gaethje 0
Bet this UFC fight at Betcris
In a normal scenario, this probably would have been an even money fight - I wouldn’t have been surprised if Gaethje was even a slight favorite. But at this level, the fact that Ferguson has been training for a championship fight and Gaethje has not makes all the difference. The top of the lightweight division is not a place where you can take shortcuts. Khabib was completely justified in stating that he didn’t want to fight not knowing a location, without the benefit of a legitimate training camp.
Still, Gaethje makes for a compelling underdog. He’s been beasting through some legitimate competition, earning three straight first-round KOs to earn his shot at Tony. No longer a brawl-or-nothing swinger, Gaethje has harnessed his power into violent outbursts - like an ultra-aggressive version of Yoel Romero. Ferguson is hittable, and there is minimal margin for error against a killshot hitter like Gaethje.
UFC Odds Pick: Bet Ferguson at -150, Bet Gaethje at +175
These are the ranges where you want to pull the trigger. We lean Tony to take the fight, but we’d like to see a better payout before we put down. Conversely, Gaethje at +175 would be too good for us to pass up.
UFC Odds Pick: Parlay fight doesn’t go to decision
Use this pick to boost another bet. There’s absolutely no way this goes to decision. None.
Live UFC Betting: Bet Ferguson past Round 2
There’s a chance that Tony gets rocked early - it’s happened on a few occasions. If that happens here, you’ll likely get fantastic underdog odds heading into Round 2. We’d advise you to hammer that money line as Tony is renowned for picking up the pace - and Gaethje will likely fade without the benefit of a full training camp.
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