UFC 249 was one for the ages. Francis Ngannou halted the Jairzinho Rozenstruik hype train with a nasty left hook, Henry Cejudo knocked out Dominick Cruz in controversial fashion, and Justin Gaethje is now the hottest thing in the Lightweight division. This card completely changed the UFC landscape, so it’ll be very interesting to see where they go from here.
Ryan Spann def. Sam Alvey by Unanimous Decision
Ryan Spann edged out the first two rounds, but not as decisively as people predicted. Sam Alvey was able to keep up with Spann, and even trading shots with him. Despite dominating in the third, it was too little too late for Alvey, as Spann was awarded the unanimous decision win.
Ryan Spann wins his eighth consecutive fight, while Sam Alvey continues his losing streak. Spann didn’t look outstanding tonight, so despite the win, will still need to prove himself going forward. Sam Alvey had a good showing, despite the loss, and will yet again look to end his losing streak in the near future.
Bryan Mithcell def. Charles Rosa by Unanimous Decision
Bryan Mitchell is the next big thing. He dominated Charles Rosa on the ground, utilizing both an arm triangle, and a twister to try and get the victory. Charles Rosa is a BJJ black belt, and Mitchell was still able to impose his will on the ground.
Give Charles Rosa some credit though, he is an absolute warrior. He had every opportunity in the world to tap, but he would not quit. Bryce Mitchell threw submission after submission his way, but he was able to survive the 15 minutes, and take the loss by submission. He would not quit.
Charles Rosa will have to try and redeem this loss, and get his name back in the win column, which is an area that Bryce Mitchell has excelled at. He’s now 13-0 as a professional, and will look to continue climbing the featherweight rankings.
Vicente Luque def. Niko Price by TKO in round 3
This fight was an absolute brawl. Both men stood and struck with one another, never walking backwards, or backing down. The fight ended due to the swelling on Niko Price’s right eye, which would have impaired his vision going forward. The doctor stoppage came soon after a brutal knockdown by Luque, ending this brutal fight, and leaving fans wanting more.
Vicente Luque gets back in the win column, and will look to climb back up the welterweight rankings. Niko Price will need to get back on the right track in his next fight, but with how talented of a fighter he is, that won’t be too difficult, especially since whoever he faces next will likely not be on the level of Vicente Luque.
Carla Esparza def. Michelle Waterson by split decision
One of the slower fights on the card, resulted in an awkward decision. Neither woman consistently engaged, or pushed the pace, resulting the judges not having a lot to work with. Despite getting the split decision win, Carla Esparza didn’t move the needle in this fight, so her stock will remain largely unchanged.
Some people believed that Michelle Waterson won this fight, but with how little action there was, on both sides, it’s hard to blame the judges. Neither fighter did enough to decisively get the decision win, so they can’t be upset with outcome.
Alexsei Oleinik def. Fabricio Werdum by Unanimous decision
Alexsei Oleinik looked very good in this fight. Fabricio Werdum looked uncomfortable in the early portion of the fight, which is when Oleinik capitalized. As the fight went on, Werdum took control, but as soon as he did so, Oleinik caught a second wind, and started to take control again. Clear decision win by Oleinik, and a disappointing return for Werdum.
Oleinik will look to continue his momentum in the Heavyweight division, while Werdum will try and get back to his winning ways. It was great to see Werdum back in the cage, despite the dissapointing loss.
Anthony Pettis def. Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision
This was a fun fight. Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone are clearly friends, which made this fight fun to watch. Anthony Pettis edged him out in the earlier rounds, resulting in the win for “Showtime.” The fight ended in spectacular fashion, with both men giving everything they had left in the tank in the final moments, to try and get the finish.
Many people speculated that Donald Cerrone would be taking some time off after this fight, but he quickly took to social media to put an end to that speculation. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is truly, one of the toughest fighters in UFC history.
With a slightly underwhelming preliminary card (aside from the potential fight of the night between Vicente Luque and Niko Price,) the UFC needed their main card to deliver, and deliver it did. 4 out of the 5 fights ended in stoppage, which is more than can be said for the prelims.
Greg Hardy def. Yorgan De Castro by Unanimous Decision
Despite the loss, Yorgan De Castro surely raised his stock in this one. He came out in round one, immediately putting the pressure on Hardy, with good hands, and some brutal leg kicks. De Castro was pushing the pace, and seemed to be in full control, until he slowed down, letting Greg Hardy take over. There was speculation that he may have suffered a potential injury, that made his prior pace impossible, but nonetheless, a very impressive win by Hardy.
Yorgan De Castro is not going anywhere. He’s incredibly talented, and showed that in the early portions of this fight. He’ll look to get back on track with a win, and continue to climb his way back up the Heavyweight ladder.
Greg Hardy is the real deal. He showed that he can stand with one of the best technical strikers in this division, and that he has the athleticism to outlast almost everybody in this division. Great win by Hardy, and yet another win to add to his rapidly growing resume.
Calvin Kattar def. Jeremy Stephens by TKO in Round 2
Despite having the size disadvantage, Calvin Kattar was able to knock out Jeremy Stephens cold, with a brutal elbow. He was softening Stephens up with some great combos before that, and the elbow was just too much for Stephens to handle. He followed up a very impressive performance against Zabit Magomedsharipov, with an even more impressive performance against Jeremy Stephens, as he continues to climb up the Featherweight rankings.
Stephens has now lost 4 straight, so while he’s still a very talented, and capable featherweight, he’ll need to get another win to get back on track. With how difficult this weight cut was for him, there have been rumors of him moving back up to Lightweight, but no word has been given on that just yet.
Francis Ngannou def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by tKo in round 1
Francis Ngannou is undeniably one of the best Heavyweights in the UFC. He’s won his last 4 fights, all by knockout, with an average fight time of 40.5 seconds. He has power comparable to nothing that we’ve seen before. Francis Ngannou needs to be fighting for the Heavyweight Championship as soon as possible. Whether he faces the winner between Stipe and Cormier, or if he faces Stipe immediately, it doesn’t matter. This is his time, and he deserves a shot at the belt.
Rozenstruik suffered his first career loss, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end for him in this division. Curtis Blaydes has been able to continue rising through the division despite a pair of losses to “The Predator,” so as long as he can get back on track, his story in the Heavyweight division is still unfinished.
Henry Cejudo Def. Dominick Cruz by Tko in round 2
Despite how entertaining the fight was for 2 rounds, it’ll be plagued by its controversial finish. Dominick Cruz was dropped by a nasty knee from the champion, and as he was scrambling to avoid the ground and pound, referee Keith Peterson called for the fight.
Fighter safety is always the #1 priority, so while you can understand where the referee was coming from, it’s still incredibly unfortunate. As soon as Dominick was about to get back to his feet, the fight was called. Up until the referee stepped in, he wasn’t defending himself, and it didn’t appear that he was going to be able to get out of the position, but as soon as the referee stepped in, Dominick Cruz made his move. The awkward timing of the finish, will ruin what could’ve been one of the best Bantamweight contests of all time.
After the fight Henry Cejudo announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts. With how temporary some MMA retirements have been, nothing is set in stone, but there was nothing left for “Triple C” to accomplish. He was the greatest Flyweight of all time, and with a win over Cruz, established himself as the greatest Bantamweight of all time as well. As much as MMA fans love to hate Cejudo, the Flyweight/Bantamweight divisions will feel empty without him. Enjoy retirement Cejudo, until you inevitably come out of it of course.
Justin Gaethje def. Tony Ferguson by TKO in round 5
Nobody expected Justin Gaethje to look this good. Everybody expected Justin to give 110% in the first few rounds, in hopes of finishing the fight, because of how good Tony’s cardio is, but that wasn’t the case. Justin dominated all 5 rounds, while Tony absorbed an ungodly amount of damage. This was easily, the best version of Justin Gaethje that we’ve ever seen, but sadly the same cannot be said for Tony Ferguson.
For the first time in quite a long time, “El Cucuy” felt human. He took more damage than anybody thought possible, but he just had no answer for Gaethje. His post fight speech was saddening, and humble. You have to feel for the guy, considering that throughout his 12 fight win streak, he was never able to receive a proper title shot. If you know anything about Tony Ferguson, you know that he’ll come back, but you have to wonder if he’ll ever be able to fully recover from this devastating loss.