LET’S PLAY CATCH UP & UFC 249 PREVIEW PICKS AND INFO
So, is it actually going to happen? Are we actually going to have some fights on May 9? Time will tell, but I sure hope so because this card is off the charts.
What’s happened in the last twoish months in the UFC world? Well, Khabib vs Tony fell through for the 85th time, Jon Jones got into some trouble AGAIN with a DWI in Albuquerque (shocker right), Anthony Smith’s home was invaded and fortunately he was able to handle the situation, Israel Adesanya is calling out the entire UFC and has been verbally targeting Tyron Woodley over on Twitter, Jan Blachowicz said he can’t wait to “fist” Jon Jones, “Fight Island” is now a thing, Luke Rockhold is hinting at coming back, and the UFC had its first case of COVID-19 reported.
Lyman Good, who was the fighter that was diagnosed with COVID-19, was supposed to fight on this UFC 249 card. Since pulling out, Good has recovered and is already back to training. Best wishes and thoughts to Good and the rest of the world as we continue to battle this awful pandemic. Stay home, stay safe.
Alright let’s dig into UFC 249. Of course, Khabib vs Tony was supposed to be UFC 249, but the event was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. It was only fitting to cancel another Khabib vs Tony fight. SO THIS IS THE NEW UFC 249! Dominick Cruz is making his return and fighting for the Bantamweight Belt when he faces Triple C, the Cringe King, Henry Cejudo. Francis Ngannou is going to attempt to behead Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Greg Hardy tries to avenge his first UFC loss when he faces Yorgan de Castro, Cowboy Cerrone faces Anthony Pettis in the prelim headliners which sounds like a throwback WEC fight…OH and Tony Ferguson is fighting Justin Gaethje for the interim Lightweight Belt, which is going to be a blood bath. The prelims are also stacked, with Uriah Hall vs Jacre Souza, Michelle Waterson vs Carla Esparaza and Aleksei Oleinik vs Fabricio Werdum. Enough of the talking, let’s get into the picks and breakdowns, staring with Oleinik vs Werdum
Fight to watch: Niko Price (+215) vs Vicente Luque (-275)
This is my fight to watch because it’s one that flies under the radar on this stacked card. Niko Price is the king of unorthodox finishes. He finished James Vick with an upkick from his back and cracked his jaw. And then another finish from his back, he knocked out Randy Brown with hammerfists. Vicente Luque is another knockout waiting to happen. Don’t be surprised to see this be FOTN.
The Prelims kick off at 5:00PM MST on ESPN & ESPN+
Odds via OddsShark
(PICKS ALWAYS IN BOLD)
Updated Picks Record: 19-6
HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT: Fabricio Werdum (-335) vs Aleksei Oleinik (+225)
This has to be the most interesting heavyweight fight that I can remember. Heavyweights are usually meant to knock each other’s head off, right? Not this one. These two are submission wizards. 10 wins via submission for Werdum, 6 for Oleinik. Madness. Werdum holds a 23-8-1 pro record and hasn’t fought since March of 2018, where he was knocked out by Alexander Volkov. Oleinik holds a 58(!)-13-1 record and is fighting for the second time this year, the first coming in January on the Cowboy vs Conor card, where he submitted Maurice Greene via armbar. I see the ring rust holding Werdum back and could even see him retiring after a loss. I got Oleinik via submission.
WELTERWEIGHT BOUT: Donald Cerrone (+125) vs Anthony Pettis (-155)
So we all know what happened in Cowboy’s last fight. He faced Conor McGregor and he didn’t land a single strike in the match that lasted :40 seconds. What do ya know though, Cowboy’s back and ready to fight Anthony Pettis. Hell, let’s roll out the blue mat and smack a ginormous WEC logo in the middle and we wouldn’t be able to tell what year it is. Anyway, both of these guys are looking to snap out of their losing streaks. Pettis is 22-10-0 as a pro and on a two fight losing streak. Cowboy is 36-14-0 (1 NC) and is on a three fight losing streak. Cowboy’s last three have come against McGregor, Gaethje and Ferguson. Two of those guys are fighting for the #1 contender, and the other…well you know who the other is. Pettis SHOULD be on a 3 fight losing streak, but had a miraculous comeback and highlight knockout vs Wonderboy Stephen Thompson back in March of last year. He would go on to lose his two fights after that though. So who comes out on top? I got Cowboy via decision.
The Main Card kicks off at 7:00PM MST on ESPN+
HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT: Greg Hardy (-185) vs Yorgan de Castro (+150)
As much as he’s hated, Greg Hardy is must watch TV when he fights. He’s looking to literally kill someone in the octagon. But so is de Castro, who has 5 KOs in 6 wins. Hardy is Both of these guys are Dana White’s Contender Series alumni, and obviously, both made it to the show. Hardy shows the he’s growing in every fight, and it’s honestly quite impressive. Although he lost to Alexander Volkov in his last fight, he looked good. I’m picking Hardy via KO.
FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT: Jeremy Stephens (+200) vs Calvin Kattar (-260)
It’s honestly impossible to talk about Jeremy Stephens without saying “WHO THE FOOK IS THE GUY?” It’s like when you grab the drill to screw in something and you have to pull the trigger a couple times to make sure it works. You just have to do it. Stephens is 28-17-0 (1 NC) and is on a 3 fight losing streak. Kattar is a promising 145er, with a 20-4-0 record and he’s looking to avenge his latest loss to the Zabeast. Expect bombs to be thrown in this one as Stephens claims he’s the hardest hitting featherweight and Kattar, his nickname is the “Boston Finisher” and that guy just loves fighting. Give me Kattar via KO.
HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT: FRANCIS NGANNOU (-325) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+250)
I included Rozenstruik in my fighters to watch this year, but he has the scariest man on the planet standing across from him in this one. If there’s one guy I wouldn’t mess with, it’s Ngannou. Ngannou is 14-3-0 as a pro and is on a 3 fight win streak, with those 3 wins coming via KO, to the surprise of no one. Since his back to back losses in 2018 versus Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, Ngannou has been decapitating everyone. Three straight 1st round KOs for The Predator. Rozenstruik holds a perfect 10-0-0 record and has finished all 4 of his UFC fights by KO, with his latest one separating Alistar Overeem’s upper lip into two. Someone’s going to fall here, and it’s not going to be Ngannou. Ngannou via KO.
BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE BOUT: Henry Cejudo (-240) vs Dominick Cruz (+190)
I don’t know if I’m picking Cruz here because he’s my all time favorite fighter and what got me into the MMA scene back in the WEC days, or if he’s just better than Henry Cejudo. Cruz is the finesse god when it comes to fighting. He’s slippery, he’s smooth, he’s agile and he makes you miss. He makes you miss 74% of the time in fact, and that’s a lot. Cejudo, that guy is good too. His comeback versus Marlon Moraes was one of the more impressive comebacks I can recall watching. He’s also an Olympic gold medalist, and a two division champion. Obviously, he’s no joke. Cejudo is 15-2-0 as a pro, with his only two losses coming Mighty Mouse Johnson and Joey Benavidez. He’s defended his title successfully in two straight fights since winning the title from DJ, and is on a 5 fight win streak. Cruz holds a 22-2-0 record with his last loss coming from Cody Garbrandt back in December of 2016. Yeah, it’s been over 3 years since he’s fought, but it’s Dominick Cruz. There’s no such thing as ring rust when it comes to Cruz. In September of 2014, he returned after a 3 year lay off due to injury and defeated Takeya Mizugaki. Another year and some months go by after that, and he returns in January of 2016 to take the belt off of TJ Dillashaw. In 2016, he fought 3 times, with the last being the fight against Cody Garbrandt, where he lost the title. Now after another 3 year lay off, I see Cruz reigning supreme again and defeating Cejudo via decision.
INTERIM LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE BOUT: Tony Ferguson (-180) vs Justin Gaethje (+150)
Remember when Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarze fought for the unofficial most violent fighter in the UFC? Gaethje wound up losing that fight. Ultimately, this fight should be for that title. Because these are two of the UFC’s most craziest, most ruthless fighters in the promotion. Tony Ferguson might be the craziest guy I’ve ever seen. He’s just an odd dude. His nickname, “El Cucuy,” is a scary mexican creature monster thing that goes around kidnapping children that don’t behave. That summarizes how batshit crazy Tony Ferguson is. Ferguson has a 26-3-0 record and is on a monster 12 fight win streak. He hasn’t tasted defeat since 2012. Gaethje holds a 21-2-0 record and he is on a 3 fight win streak with all 3 wins coming via 1st round KO. Gaethje either knocks out, or gets knocked out. Every UFC fight he’s been in resulted in a KO win or a KO loss. He’s a natural brawler. As crazy as these two are, this fight will wind up going to a decision. Kidding, someone is going down, and it’s Gaethje. Tony Ferguson via KO.