It might not fit Dana White’s description as the “baddest ever card in MMA history,” but the revamped UFC 249 lineup certainly has some fights of significance.
With the coronavirus pandemic impacting the sports world as a whole, the UFC was not immune. The promotion postponed three events but remained focused on hosting UFC 249 on April 18, even after travel restrictions were implemented around the globe and lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov – who was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson in the main event – fell off the card.
Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) now meets Justin Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) for the interim lightweight title in the headliner, but the UFC still has not announced an official location, although broadcast partner ESPN reported on Sunday that a venue on the West Coast is close to being finalized.
The situation has caused UFC matchmakers to shuffle the deck from the original UFC 249 lineup meant for Brooklyn, N.Y. Some fights have fallen off, while others were added.
UFC officials announced on Monday that the strawweight rematch between former champions Jessica Andrade (20-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC) and Rose Namajunas (8-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) will remain as the co-main event, and a heavyweight fight between Francis Ngannou (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) – who were originally booked for UFC on ESPN 8 on March 28 – have been added to the main card.
Other notable matchups include: Calvin Kattar (20-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) vs. Jeremy Stephens (28-17 MMA, 15-16 UFC) at featherweight; Uriah Hall (15-9 MMA, 7-7 UFC) vs. Ronaldo Souza (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) at middleweight; and Greg Hardy (5-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. Yorgan De Castro (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at heavyweight.
The broadcast plans are unknown, but the latest UFC 249 lineup includes: