UFC 249 ‘Ferguson vs. Gaethje’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
May 9, 2020


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Ryan Spann (206) vs. Sam Alvey (205)

Round 1

Welcome back, everyone. It’s been a rough few months, and the last 24 hours have been especially rocky, but fights are officially back on the menu. We begin this 11-fight odyssey in the light heavyweight division, as rising Fortis MMA star Spann (17-5, 3-0 UFC) takes on the effervescent Alvey (33-13, 1 NC; 10-8 UFC). An unmasked Dan Miragliotta draws the first referee assignment of the evening, and with a touch of gloves, it’s on with the show! Spann begins to walk Alvey down, and starts out with a right hand and then another thudding right before ducking into a double. Snatching up the legs, Spann drags his man down; Alvey gets back to his feet and works a few hammerfists to irritate Spann. Switching to a single, Spann drops low and hits it, and Alvey flirts with grabbing the fence while he is trying to get back up. As Alvey returns to his feet, Spann sets up a standing arm-triangle choke, allowing Alvey to pepper him with a few short right hands to the torso. Spann tightens up and tries to wrench Alvey down, but Alvey resists and he does not look to be in a good position. Alvey’s head is starting to change colors, and he looks distressed but does not seem to want to fight it off. Spann looks to rip him down to the canvas, and Alvey calmly pops his head out and punches his way free. “Superman” keeps Alvey against the fence, and Alvey scores with a right hand to back off his opponent. He lands another, and Spann backpedals for a moment, before returning to the pressure. Alvey wings a few punches, and Spann throws so hard that he stumbles across the cage before regaining his composure. An inadvertent low kick catches Spann on the cup, and the action does not slow for long. Spann makes him pay for it with a heavy right hand, and Alvey shakes it off before returning fire with a right hook. The Fortis MMA fighter again throws himself off balance with a looping punch, allowing Alvey to kick his legs and send him off-balance. Spann drops down for a single, and takes a knee on the way in. Right before the round ends, Alvey sneaks in a knee and a solid elbow up top, and the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Spann
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Spann
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Spann

Round 2

Between rounds, Spann seems concerned that is taking damage from a few of Alvey’s low calf kicks. To return some damage, Spann fires a head kick up top to start the round. It delivers a serious impact even though Alvey blocks it, but Spann uses the forward movement to go after a takedown. Alvey stands him up and they clinch and break apart, allowing Alvey to catch him with a solid left hand on the way out. Spann starts to talk to his corner as the fight progresses, and Alvey continues to pepper that lead calf with kicks that continue to get Spann’s attention. Spann’s looping punches are not catching Alvey flush, and Alvey’s counters fall short. The two swing heavy leather as they crash together, and Alvey appears to get the better of the exchange as they separate. Alvey keeps his back close to the fence, but times a stiff left hand and follows it with a right hook to nail “Superman” on the chin. Spann walks through it, and throws a heavy body kick that makes Alvey circle away. Sensing the success of that kick, Spann throws a few more, and scores a hard right while Alvey tries to defend that kick. Another low kick scores for Alvey, frustrating Spann to throw all he has into a short right hook that falls shy of the mark, and Alvey dances away. Spann tags him with an overhand left after a front kick, but Alvey is unfazed. Spann charges forward to land another few punches, ending the combination with a vicious left hook. The punches for Spann are finding their mark repeatedly, although his wildness is making him fall across the cage as Alvey avoids most of the damage. “Smile’n Sam” tries to throw a spinning wheel kick of sorts, but he is several feet away, so Spann simply stands there to admire the attempt as the round comes to a close.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Spann
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Spann
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Alvey

Round 3

The final frame begins with Spann walking forward into a clinch. Alvey tries to tie him up with a Thai clinch, although Spann breaks free and clips him on the way out. Another body kick scores for Spann, and Alvey is protesting something but it is unclear what he is concerned about. The action does not stop, so Spann walks forward as he continues to talk to his coaches. Coming short with a few long punches, Spann misses but Alvey does not make him pay for it. They start taking turns throwing at each other. Suddenly, Spann whips a high kick and cracks Alvey, and Alvey is rocked. They start swinging with reckless abandon, and the chin of Alvey holds up as he shakes out the cobwebs. After trading furious leather, they separate, allowing Spann to connect with a few more body kicks. Alvey lands a few solid lefts, but Spann throws back harder and more often, blasting Alvey on the jaw. Despite the powerful shots, “Smile’n” keeps going, and Spann looks to be a little tired now. The punches and kicks for Spann are much slower than before, allowing Alvey to stick and move. Alvey goes up with his own head kick, and Spann did not like that. A huge shot from Alvey hurts Spann, and Spann shoots for a desperation takedown. Alvey catches him and sets up a 10-finger guillotine choke, but Spann muscles his way back to his feet. Alvey clips Spann again, and again, with nasty left hands as Spann is in a bad way. Spann falls against the cage, and Alvey pours it on in the waning seconds. The Team Quest fighter puts everything he has left to force a stoppage, but time expires before he can get it. What a wild end to that round, and the first fight is now in the hands of the judges. Although the post-fight interview for Joe Rogan was reportedly off the table for this event, the winner of this fight still gets one from a maskless, gloveless Rogan.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Alvey (29-28 Spann)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Alvey (29-28 Spann)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Alvey (29-28 Alvey)

The Official Result

Ryan Spann def. Sam Alvey via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Charles Rosa (146) vs. Bryce Mitchell (145.5)

Round 1

Dropping down to the featherweight division, we are treated to a matchup between two solid prospects in American Top Team’s Rosa (12-3, 3-3 UFC) and the undefeated Mitchell (12-0, 3-0 UFC). Our referee for this bout is Keith Peterson, and uncharacteristically he is allowing some nonsense by not wearing a mask. The two elect not to touch gloves to kick off their match, and Mitchell immediately stalks Rosa down against the fence. Rosa tries to keep away and throw kicks, but Mitchell is unconcerned and hits a quick single leg takedown. Mitchell ties up the legs to keep Rosa grounded, and Mitchell circles around to take the back. Rosa spins out but is immediately is in the danger zone. Mitchell sets up an arm-triangle choke, and Rosa’s head is changing colors rapidly and thinks about tapping. Rosa continues to flail and almost taps again, but somehow manages to pull his head free. Mitchell is on him like glue, taking the back before hunting for an arm-triangle choke again. Rosa throws his legs up to hunt for an inverted triangle choke, and Mitchell is unconcerned as he spins free. The ensuing exchange miraculously leads to Mitchell setting up a twister, and the commentary booth is losing it. Rosa struggles, turns and tries to survive, and manages to get out for a moment, only to give it up again. In an impressive showing of submission defense, Rosa pulls his body out but surrenders another arm-triangle choke. This time, it’s tight, and Mitchell squeezes with all he has. Rosa’s head turns red quickly once more, but he powers free and remains on his back. Mitchell tries to set up one last submission, but the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Mitchell
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Mitchell

Round 2

Rosa opens the round with a few head kicks, and keep Mitchell at bay for a few seconds. “Thug Nasty” gathers his thoughts and shoots in for a takedown, and immediately passes guard and takes three-quarter mount. Rosa is unable to get any offense going as Mitchell nullifies him, and gives up mount as Mitchell tries to set up another arm-triangle. While Mitchell continues to style on Rosa, the commentary booth ponders the true location of Fight Island -- none of them know. Mitchell drops down a few heavy elbows and punches on top, and Rosa uses that aggression against his opponent to pull for a leglock. Mitchell practically ignores it, before stepping back to mount. He steps over to get an arm-triangle choke, and Rosa stays calm and defends it well enough before Mitchell bails to return to mount. Rosa turns over, and Mitchell thinks about taking his back before setting up another twister. This is unquestionably the record for the most twister attempts in a UFC fight before, and this time it’s tight as a drum. Unfortunately for Mitchell, the horn sounds before he can get the tap, but this is all one-way traffic from “Thug Nasty.”

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell

Round 3

Within 15 seconds, Mitchell dives into a takedown and incredibly sets up another twister. Rosa locks his arm up to hold on tight, but Mitchell pulls on the right arm of Rosa to twist him the other direction. Rosa pushes with all his might to get free, and while he gets out of the bad situation, he is still grounded. “Boston Strong” tries to set up a guillotine off his back, and Mitchell thinks about going after a Von Preux choke until thinking about the arm-triangle choke again. The unbeaten fighter chains submission together one after the other, and props to Rosa for surviving, but it is total domination. Rosa gives up his back, defends a choke and rolls back over. Ever vigilant, Mitchell returns to mount before hunting for the arm-triangle once more. Rosa is cursing out Mitchell for “laying on me” but is not showing the defense to get out of harm’s way. Mitchell takes a high mount and thinks about blasting him with a few shots on top, but Rosa rolls out just in time. Mitchell hops out, turns around and dives back in to secure top position. Mitchell rolls through a crucifix, hammers down a few elbows, takes top position with Rosa’s feet trying to kick off the cage. He successfully does so with seconds to spare, but he is spent -- Mitchell crashes forward to strike him and clinch up, but the round, and fight, is over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell (30-24 Mitchell)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell (30-25 Mitchell)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-8 Mitchell (30-25 Mitchell)

The Official Result

Bryce Mitchell def. Charles Rosa via Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)

Vicente Luque (170) vs. Niko Price (170.5)

Round 1

In the first of two welterweight rematches throughout the evening, Luque (17-7-1, 10-3 UFC) will try to go 2-0 over “The Hybrid” Price (14-3, 1 NC; 6-3, 1 NC UFC). Holding on tight is referee Jason Herzog, because if their first fight is any indication, this one should be wild. A glove touch checks the two in, and they both come out swinging. Price throws a low calf kick, and Luque replies with one. Price slaps up a head kick, and they rush together to throw bombs. Neither land flush, and they back off to trade kicks. Price snaps Luque’s head back with a nasty jab, and Luque responds with two more heavy low kicks. They clinch up and Price unloads a few powerful uppercuts, until Luque pushes him away. Price sits down with a three-punch combination, and Luque fires right back at him. A one-two from Luque falls short, and Price tries to keep his distance with a front kick before countering with a right hand. Luque catches him hard with two punches, and Price throws back with reckless abandon. The calf kicks for Luque are already paying off less than halfway through the firstr round, and Luque lands a nasty right hand while Price reacts. “The Hybrid” fires right back at him and bloodies up the nose, but Luque ignores it and kicks low again. Luque catches him on the end of a right hand, and Price returns fire with a similar blow as they are just throwing bombs. Price rips to the body with a left, allowing Luque to crack him up top with a right-left hook combination. Luque lands another similar combination, and stings him with a right. Price hurts him with a right hand, and Luque’s chin is holding as he is eating some powerful shots. The Floridian throws everything he has at him, and Luque slides down the cage and tries to pull for a guillotine choke. Price sets up a brabo choke -- Luque hit that on him in their first meeting -- but Luque survives it and gets back to his feet. They do not let up with the aggression, and sting one another with powerful punches right until the bell. What a first round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Luque

Round 2

Price starts off the round with a leg kick, but rushes forward to throw punches. Luque eats them and throws right back, and Price rolls with them as best he can. Luque throws a kick that splits the uprights, and we have a brief pause in the action. Luque is warned to be careful, as Herzog says “no more accidents,” and the fight results shortly after. Two punches for Luque land flush on the chin, and Price walks through them but takes another. With the separation, Luque goes for a few more low calf kicks, and Price appears to be hampered by them to an extent. Price fires one back, and unexpectedly throws a reverse crescent kick. Price hurts Luque with a jab and then a big right hand, and Luque is hurt. Price charges in to land some monstrous punches, and Luque wobbles, but fires a huge right hand that drops Price in the exchange. Price falls to his back, but Luque does not oblige him and makes him stand up. When getting to his feet, we can see that Price is still compromised, as he is on baby deer legs while trying to circle away from Luque’s offense. Luque chases after him with a swarm of punches, and Price holds on to him but gets caught up the middle. Price clinches him up against the fence, and Henri Hooft makes fun of Price as he holds on. They separate, and Luque picks his shots as Price looks to be slowing down. Luque targets the leg a few more times, and Price digs with a solid liver kick. They are not concerned by the power shots they keep landing, and although Luque is getting the better of some of these exchanges, Price starts targeting the body with punches and kicks. The round ends with Luque landing another powerful shot as the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Luque

Round 3

Price has reached a rare third round in this fight, and he starts off fresh with some big punches. Luque throws right back, and they both trade leg kicks. Luque connects with a hard right hand, and Price does the same in this crazy back-and-forth exchange. They are both landing at will, and almost every shot is a power shot from both men. The jabs they throw are snapping each other’s’ heads back, and the leg kicks make their legs buckle. A left hand from Luque opens up a large cut under Price’s eye, and his face is quickly transforming into a crimson mask. Luque’s leg is taking some damage and he switches stances after eating some leg kicks, and Price shoots in for a takedown. Luque thinks about a choke attempt, but opts to stand back and bang it out. Luque scores with a right, and Price replies with an uppercut that nearly snaps Luque’s head back like a Pez dispenser. Like a Terminator, Luque powers through it and throws a bomb of a right hand. A monster left hook from Luque sends Price reeling, and “The Hybrid” falls to the canvas in pain. Price tries to throw up a desperation triangle choke, but Luque steps out of it and forces the standup. Herzog calls in the doctor to check on Price, who is really wearing it right now. Price’s eye is closing up fast, and the cut on the eyelid is in a dangerous place. In a matter of seconds, Price’s eye seals shut, and the doctor calls the fight. What a wild battle, a terrific win for Luque, and a good stoppage as well. When they embrace after the fight, Price congratulates his foe and says "you're the best opponent I've ever faced."

The Official Result

Vicente Luque def. Niko Price R3 3:37 via TKO (Doctor Stoppage)

Ronaldo Souza (186) vs. Uriah Hall (186)

Round 1

The bout was canceled Friday night after it was discovered that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza had tested positive for COVID-19. The news was first reported by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Carla Esparza (115.5) vs. Michelle Waterson (115)

Round 1

The lone women’s bout of the night sees former champ Esparza (15-6, 6-4 UFC) take on ex- Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight titleholder Waterson (17-7, 5-3 UFC) at strawweight. Serving as the referee for the lightest matchup of the night is Dan Miragliotta, and the two respectfully touch gloves before getting down to business. They start at a distance, with Waterson trying to set up the jab as Esparza works an angle and fakes changing levels a few times. Few if any strikes have landed in the first minute, as this is a definite feeling-out process. Waterson rushes in to throw a combination punctuated with a kick, and Esparza avoids most of the damage before responding with a right hand. Waterson rolls through it, and the action stalls again as the two are keeping a very respectful distance. Esparza rushes in to land a right, and ducks out of the way when Waterson throws a high kick at her. “Cookie Monster” tries again with the right, but this time she is several feet away from her target. Waterson whips a kick to the thigh, and darts away when Esparza throws wildly at her. Esparza charges forward as if to pursue a takedown, and rams her chest into Waterson’s face. On the break, Esparza lands a heavy right hand in the best strike of the round so far. Waterson backs off, and throws a long side kick that lands to the body. The two are standing well out of punching or kicking range, although Waterson again closes in to land a kick. As she throws another kick, Esparza catches the leg and hits a takedown. Straight into guard, Esparza tries to pass position and shucks off a submission attempt along the way. Esparza remains on top until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Esparza
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Esparza
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Waterson

Round 2

The second round also begins tentatively, as neither land on the other for much of the first minute. Waterson connects with a kick to the thigh, and Esparza practically runs at her to blitz with a combination. Esparza catches her at the end of a right hand, but it is not much more than that. Waterson aims to the body with a kick, and then throws an oblique kick to the knee in true Jackson-Wink fashion. Waterson aims another, and Esparza tries to check it but just gets out of the way in time. Esparza comes in with another punch combination, and Waterson rolls through them and avoids a front kick up the middle. Waterson replies with a front kick that just glances off the chin, and avoids the counter that follows. Irritated by the inactivity, Esparza charges forward to go after takedown, but this time Waterson is ready for it. “The Karate Hottie” defends it and lands a solid knee to the body before the separation. They break, and Esparza rushes in again but misses on her offense this time. Her kick falls short as well, but Waterson cannot make her pay for the failed strike attempts. Esparza once again telegraphs with a run from a great distance, and Waterson times her with a knee to the gut to defend it well. Esparza fires off a multiple-punch salvo, and chains into a takedown attempt, but it is nothing doing as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Waterson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Waterson
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Waterson

Round 3

Esparza takes the center of the cage to start off the last round, but her punch combinations fall short of the mark. Waterson throws a body kick, and then defends the rushing takedown from Esparza with a solid knee. Esparza lunges forward to land a solid right hand, but does not follow it up and instead backs away. Waterson lands a hard oblique kick, and Esparza blitzes forward with punches that miss and a body kick that does not miss. Esparza tries to dip and dodge the incoming kicks to make her way in, but Waterson sees right through it and lands a heavy kick. Esparza walks through it to land a right hand, and clinches up and it is “Cookie Monster” who lands a knee as they come together. On the break, Esparza clips her with a right hand, and the two back off and circle. Throwing caution to the wind, Esparza crashes forward but takes a kick that hurts her, and she is stunned momentarily. Esparza still manages to clinch up, but the Team Oyama fighter cannot capitalize on it as they separate. She does manage to come forward with a few punches, and a solid leg kick. Esparza shoots low for a double, and Waterson defends it like many times before with a stiff knee. The two come together and hit the gas unexpectedly, throwing crazy punch flurries until they back off. Esparza takes a deep breath, eats a high kick, and jumps into one last surge of offense as they trade leather until the bell. This is a close fight, and we might get some strange scorecards before it's said and done.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Esparza (29-28 Esparza)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Esparza (29-28 Esparza)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Esparza (29-28 Waterson)

The Official Result

Carla Esparza def. Michelle Waterson via Split Decision (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)

Fabricio Werdum (243) vs. Alexey Oleynik (227.5)

Round 1

We make the leap from the lightest weight class in the promotion to the heaviest, as two submission masterminds collide when Werdum (23-8-1, 11-5 UFC) takes on Oleynik (58-13-1, 7-4 UFC). The two men have recorded an astonishing 57 submission wins throughout their combined careers, while stopping 71 opponents over the years. Referee Herb Dean is on top of the action in this heavyweight showdown, and the two come out cautious until they touch gloves. Oleynik scores a right hand, and lands another as Werdum counters with a low kick. The Russian comes at him with right after thudding right, and Werdum is getting tagged but is not taking them flush. As Werdum shoots in for a takedown, Oleynik stuffs him and stands him up. Oleynik unloads with a few more powerful rights, and Werdum is eating them one after the other. They clinch up on the cage, and Werdum cracks him with two knees before they separate. Oleynik takes a leg kick but charges forward with two, three, four punches. The uppercuts come heavily for “The Boa Constrictor,” and Werdum is turtling up and almost playing rope-a-dope. Oleynik blasts him with a massive fight hand, and then a left comes before the right returns. Oleynik is unloading on him, and Werdum is trying to tie up and land knees up the middle. Werdum checks his glove for a moment, and the two come back together where Oleynik lands a few jabs and thumping overhand rights. One of Oleynik punches has opened up a small cut beneath the eye of Werdum, and the former champ looks bewildered out there as he’s been taking shots. Werdum scores a few more knees to tie him up, setting up the Thai plum clinch and trying to blast his opponent. Oleynik breaks free and manages to narrowly avoid eating a head kick, and he comes in with a few more uppercuts and punches as the blood starts to flow more from beneath Werdum’s eye. A stern knee from Werdum makes the Russian back off for a moment, but he comes right back with some massive right hands that are extremely loud with the crowdless environment. The damage might be showing on other eye for Werdum as well, and Oleynik ties him up and holds on to him as the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Oleynik
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Oleynik
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Oleynik

Round 2

The round starts off wildly, as Oleynik opens up with a spinning back kick as Werdum tries to kick him. As Oleynik comes forward to close the distance, Oleynik pursues a double leg takedown but gives up his neck. “Vai Cavalo” immediately pursues a guillotine choke, and cinches it up as he smiles and turns Oleynik against the fence. Werdum lifts up a knee to the body in the process, and then nearly lands a trip takedown but cannot hit it as they break apart. Oleynik immediately comes after him with some more bombs, and some shot for Werdum appears to have opened up Oleynik. Werdum again checks his glove, but he does not lose focus as he clinches up and lands a few heavy knees. Oleynik is sucking wind now as Werdum tries to keep his distance, throw kicks, and counter with knees. A big head kick from Werdum lands and knocks the mouthpiece out, and the Russian is unfazed as he adjusts it. Oleynik takes a deep breath, and he runs in with a swarm of wild punches. Werdum tries to time the knee, and lands it. Werdum finally lands the trip takedown that he has been searching for, and he falls on top and immediately pursues two-on-one wrist control. Oleynik shakes off the potential kimura attempt and tries to sit up, but Werdum takes his back as the Russian turns out. The Brazilian gets both hooks in, and Oleynik is trying to sneak out the back door and does so. The two get back to their feet, and Oleynik takes another deep breath as he spins with a back fist. The increasingly looping punches for Oleynik continue to land, and Werdum might be stunned by one of them as the two tie up against the fence. With Oleynik taking Werdum’s back for a second, the two turn out and separate, but Oleynik nails him with a hard straight right. The last seconds tick off the clock as Oleynik continues to throw short punches to the body.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Oleynik
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Werdum
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Oleynik

Round 3

The Russian begins the round by stalking the former champ down, and Werdum is content to throw a leg kick before rushing in to hit a takedown. Werdum again takes Oleynik’s back, and Oleynik is not concerned as Werdum tries to set up an armbar. Oleynik holds on tight and turns through the position, where he calmly ends up on top. Oleynik takes the time to catch his breath while sitting in full guard, and Werdum hunts for a kimura sweep from his back. Oleynik slaps a few punches to the body, and Werdum wrenches the arm and hits that sweep. The former champ immediately turns it into a straight armbar, but Oleynik defends it as he gives up mount. Werdum takes the back, flirts with another armbar, and this time he sets it up in the spider web position. Oleynik appears nonplussed, and rolls through it and gets free. Werdum goes after another submission in the scramble, but the Russian uses the moment to get back to his feet. They clinch up quickly, and Werdum lands a flush knee on the chin as Oleynik scores a few kicks to the knee. The two heavyweights are exhausted, and Oleynik pops him with his wild punches. Werdum stands up, frozen for a moment, and recovers to try to throw some knees. A spent Oleynik gets shoved to his back, and Werdum climbs on top to take any advantageous position. One of the knees has opened up a cut on the Russian’s forehead, and Werdum sinks in a guillotine choke. We hear the 10-second clapper, and Oleynik gives the thumbs-up sign to Dean as time expires.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Werdum (29-28 Oleynik)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Werdum (29-28 Werdum)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Werdum (29-28 Oleynik)

The Official Result

Alexey Oleynik def. Fabricio Werdum via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Anthony Pettis (170.5) vs. Donald Cerrone (171)

Round 1

To headline the ESPN prelims we are treated to a welterweight rematch of thrilling proportions, as Pettis (22-10, 9-9 UFC) will attempt to hand “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-14, 1 NC; 23-11 UFC) his fourth straight defeat. The first time they met, Pettis dispatched Cerrone in the first round with a vicious body kick, and on Media Day, “Showtime” admitted this same liver kick would be a key tool in of his arsenal. To officiate this rematch is Keith Peterson, who will keep a close eye on the proceedings and assure there is no nonsense. Although the two greeted each other at the staredowns on Friday with smiles, they are all business now with their glove touch. Pettis opens with a lazy low kick, and Cerrone rushes in to feint with two jabs and Pettis ducks away. Cerrone lands to the body with a long right hand, and scores with a front kick to the torso. Pettis whiffs with a low kick, and misses with a jab as Cerrone starts to stalk him down. A left hand from “Cowboy” catches Pettis going away, although he is able to sneak up a counter of his own. A low body kick from Pettis comes, allowing Cerrone to go for a single. Pettis backs off and lands a right to the body. Cerrone lands a solid low kick, but Pettis is able to counter with a right. Cerrone is just able to block a head kick, and rushes in to take Pettis’ head off with an overhand left. Another leg kick from Cerrone is followed by “Cowboy” closing in to try to take the fight down. Pettis pushes him away, and lands a rangy right hand while blocking a counterattack. Both connect with punches, and Pettis scores a huge jumping head kick. Cerrone eats it like a sandwich and takes the fight down, where he lands in side control and tries to set up a crucifix. Pettis is throwing knees from his back while trying to power out of the position, and he manages to kick Cerrone off of him. Pettis throws a few upkicks to keep his man at bay, and pops back to his feet. Cerrone catches him with a left, then a right, but Pettis comes back at him with a left hand. Seeming to get a little more comfortable in there, Pettis spins with a back kick to the body. They come together and land a few more punches, and a counter right from Pettis stands Cerrone up. The round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cerrone
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pettis
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Cerrone

Round 2

The two start the round aggressively, and Pettis tags Cerrone with a right hand. Some swelling under the right eye of “Cowboy” is starting to form, and Pettis goes after that eye with a left. Cerrone swings and misses with a few pawing right hands, and an errant kick from Pettis makes his opponent take a second to check his cup. They restart, and Cerrone rushes in, lands a few strikes, and gets countered by a hard right hand. Pettis whips a hook kick that whizzes right past the head of his opponent, and he misses with a spinning back fist as Cerrone lands low with a kick. Pettis goes after the knee with a kick, and Cerrone races forward with a punch combination that bloodies up the nose of “Showtime.” Cerrone takes a few low kicks, but lands some of his own. A jumping switch kick from Pettis falls short, and Cerrone walks forward with a combination but gets tagged with a left on the way in. Both nail each other with heavy leg kicks, but they are one-and-done. Cerrone blitzes forward with a few more punches, and he largely avoids the counter this time. “Cowboy” manages to get an axe kick off, and it lands on the body of his opponent. Pettis goes after the body kick that stopped Cerrone the first time they met, and he lands a few. This leads to a Cerrone takedown, and Pettis immediately walks his way to the fence. Wall-walking his way back to his feet, Cerrone goes for a low single as a decoy to throw a big head kick up top. Pettis takes it and wobbles a little, and the two separate. Another spinning back kick from Pettis is successful, but less so than the first. The second concludes with a body kick from “Cowboy,” and an embrace.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pettis
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pettis
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Pettis

Round 3

Cerrone leads off with a heavy body kick, and clinches up to try to take the fight down. Pettis shucks him off, and scores with a huge left hand that staggers Cerrone for a moment. “Cowboy” shakes it off, and throws a head kick followed by a right hand. Cerrone strings a few punches together, leading to Pettis backing off to try to counter. Cerrone digs to the body with a front kick, and catches a body kick coming his way as he tries for a takedown. It is nothing doing, and he tries to throw a head kick that does not come high enough. Pettis catches him with a short left, but it does not back Cerrone off. Pettis lands a hard body kick, and Cerrone turns it into a takedown attempt that fails, but he does score a big knee to the body. “Showtime” comes up short with a big head kick, and the pace has waned for a moment as both men try to pick their shots. Cerrone feints up top, only to land a heavy leg kick. Pettis crashes forward and swarms him, and Cerrone complains of an eye poke. Peterson says it was a punch -- it was an eye poke -- so Pettis chains together several more punches. Cerrone turtles up, and the damage begins to mount under that right eye. He manages to circle out of danger, and just dodges a big head kick. Cerrone, who has just recovered, blasts Pettis with a head kick. Somehow Pettis absorbs it without going down, although his offense has stopped momentarily. Cerrone comes after him with punches, and Pettis drops his hands to walk forward into a brawl. Pettis rips the body with another kick, but “Cowboy” ignores it to rush in for an insane exchange of punches and kicks. Cerrone senses his man may be hurt in the waning seconds, and he lets loose until the bell sounds, but Pettis is throwing right back at him.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cerrone (29-28 Cerrone)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pettis (30-27 Pettis)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Cerrone (29-28 Cerrone)

The Official Result

Anthony Pettis def. Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Greg Hardy (265.5) vs. Yorgan De Castro (262)

Round 1

Kicking off the pay-per-view main card is a heavyweight rumble between two men in Hardy (5-2, 1 NC; 2-2, 1 NC UFC) and De Castro (6-0, 1-0 UFC) who love the knockout. Trying to keep a lid on this 527.5-pound match is referee Herb Dean, and there is a glove touch before they come out swinging. Hardy goes for a leg kick, and De Castro counters with a right hand over the top. De Castro throws with all his might with a massive right hand, and Hardy gets clipped and turns away. He recovers, and De Castro chases after him with a few punches. De Castro wings a few nasty leg kicks, and Hardy is trying to stalk him down. A left hand from De Castro lands on the side of the head, and the Cape Verde native blocks the counter. A few more leg kicks from the undefeated fighter land, and he just misses with a monster right hand. Hardy lands his own response, but De Castro ignores it and walks forward to take a leg kick. De Castro scores another leg kick, and blocks a head kick before taking a right hand to the face. De Castro is swinging wildly with looping shots, and he is coming up short as Hardy darts away. Hardy rips a heavy low kick, and De Castro barely misses a counter right hand. A sneaky right hand from De Castro sends Hardy off-balance, and another leg kick has marked up the knee of Hardy. He cracks that same lead leg once more, and then charges forward with three punches that Hardy avoids. The former football star goes to the body with a lunging right hand, but he is largely throwing single shots while De Castro puts together combinations. A few jabs connect for Hardy, and the two come together and swing some crazy punches. Hardy eats a heavy right and clips De Castro, where he goes on to unload a salvo of big punches. De Castro takes them, circles out, and is trying to pursue a one-hitter quitter. Hardy jabs his way in, throws a high kick that gets blocked, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 De Castro
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 De Castro
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 De Castro

Round 2

The leg damage is readily apparent for Hardy’s lead leg just five minutes in, and the second round begins with another glove touch. De Castro aims right off the bat for another leg kick, and Hardy thinks to switch stances but throws one kick back at him. De Castro wings another, and then races forward to throw big shots but Hardy is out of the way in time. Hardy connects with a straight right hand that splits the guard, but he can’t plant on his lead leg to put a lot of power behind it. Hardy overextends with a punch, and De Castro fakes one before landing that leg kick. The end of De Castro’s right hand lands on the jaw of Hardy, who rolls with it and tries to throw a kick back at him. A leg kick is partially checked by Hardy, who walks in and whiffs with some big punches. Hardy throws an inside leg kick, and then an oblique kick to the knee as Hardy dances away from the counter right that comes his way. De Castro stings him with an outside leg kick, and follows with a left straight before missing wildly with a head kick. The offense has waned for De Castro, who could have hurt his foot kicking Hardy so many times. Hardy starts picking away at him with occasional punches and kicks, while De Castro stands in front of him without sending any offense back. The two stare at one another until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hardy
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hardy
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Hardy

Round 3

Hardy opens with a huge right hand, and De Castro eats it like a steak. De Castro comes back firing with some bit shots, and charges after him with a looping left hand. Hardy comes in at him, but eats a low kick for his efforts. The Cape Verdean fighter lands a kick with the opposite leg, and Hardy is resorting to jabbing his way from a distance. Hardy nails him with a big leg kick, and De Castro reacts to it but does not return fire. De Castro takes two leg kicks to deliver one to his opponent, and the power disparity on the two kickers is substantial. A jab to the body and short leg kick from Hardy both land, while De Castro is back to neutral. Hardy kicks the leg out from beneath his opponent, and Hardy stands above him and punches him in the thigh. Dean declines to stand the two of them up after a strange period of inactivity, allowing the fight to play out. Hardy walks away, asking to stand them up, so De Castro obliges and touches gloves. Hardy throws a few leg kicks, but De Castro is again just content to look at him from afar. The time ticks off the clock as this strange final round ends. When the fight ends, De Castro points at his foot, to signal that he likely suffered an injury that led to his tentativeness later in the bout.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hardy (29-28 Hardy)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hardy (29-28 Hardy)
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Hardy (29-28 Hardy)

The Official Result

Greg Hardy def. Yorgan De Castro via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Jeremy Stephens (150.5: Missed Weight) vs. Calvin Kattar (146)

Round 1

On any other card, this matchup between Stephens (28-17, 1 NC; 15-16, 1 NC UFC) and Kattar (20-4, 4-2 UFC) would be near the top of the billing, which speaks to the depth of UFC 249. This potential all-action catchweight bout -- Stephens missed weight by 4.5 pounds -- will be officiated by referee Jason Herzog, and the two strikers do not touch gloves and decided to start engaging early. Stephens leads off with a flurry, and he is loading up on shots right out of the gate. A low kick from Stephens goes a little low, and he swings with reckless abandon as Kattar shells up. Stephens is landing frequently with leg kicks to both sides, although Kattar finally fires back at him. Three punches from Kattar surprise Stephens, but “Lil’ Heathen” throws bombs back at him. “The Boston Finisher” strings together a few punches, and Stephens is having none of it as he comes right back at him. A loud leg kick from Stephens lands, and Kattar replies with a similar kick. Both men whiff with big hooks, and Stephens pursues the lead leg of the Boston-based fighter with kicks. They trade leg kicks, but Stephens’ appears to be more impactful as Kattar’s lead leg is beginning to welt up a little. Two powerful punches from Kattar give his opponent pause, but Stephens gathers himself and throws right back. Two over the top are followed by one powerful shot to the body from Kattar, and Stephens races after him with a leg kick that makes Kattar wince. Stephens chains together punches and leg kicks, and Kattar has been forced to change stances already. A big right from Kattar catches Stephens flush, and the Alliance MMA fighter shakes it out and tries blast him with a counter right. Both throw with all they have to end the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Stephens
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Stephens
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Stephens

Round 2

Stephens opens up aggressively with a bevy of punches and a leg kick. The kick is forcing Kattar to lift his leg up in anticipation of getting kicked, and also making the Bostonian change stances. Stephens charges in to unload with some shots, but Kattar counters him on the way in and works the lead leg too. Stephens is now forced to switch stances from the damage, and they are swinging with malicious intent. Stephens stings him with a right that splits the guard, and continues the offense with another two thudding leg kicks. Kattar jabs to the body, and puts together a combination that wobbles Stephens. Kattar goes to the body and the head to keep Stephens guessing, and Stephens clinches up to land an elbow on the inside. They separate, and Stephens aims at that lead leg again. Kattar is committing to big right hands now, and they are getting Stephens’ attention. Kattar winds up with a monster elbow that drills Stephens on the chin, and “Lil’ Heathen” goes down hard. Kattar chases after him to unleash some relentless ground-and-pound, and concludes with a few elbows that slice Stephens’ forehead wide open. Herzog steps in to save a badly damaged Stephens, who is in a bad way and is positively gushing blood. This is a massive win for Kattar, and he does so with style points.

The Official Result

Calvin Kattar def. Jeremy Stephens R2 2:42 via KO (Elbows and Punches)

Francis Ngannou (261.5) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (260)

Round 1

The final heavyweight bout of the night takes place as a de facto title eliminator, as Ngannou (14-3, 9-2 UFC) tries to work his way back to another title shot against the undefeated kickboxer Rozenstruik (10-0, 4-0 UFC). Don’t blink in this one, as the odds on this match ending faster than any other on the card is an impressive +110. Referee Dan Miragliotta will try to keep up with these two sluggers, and they do not touch gloves before throwing down. Rozenstruik opens with a slapping leg kick, and Ngannou comes out with murder in his eyes. Throwing a right hand that nearly knocks out Miragliotta, "The Predator" swarms forward with a looping left that misses, a third that also falls short, and the fourth lands right on the button. Rozenstruik is out cold as he slumps to the cage, but Ngannou is not through yet. With a few more vicious punches, Ngannou lays into his previously undefeated foe until Miragliotta throws him off of him. “Bigi Boy” is completely unconscious, and the medical staff tends to him until he wakes back up. It looks like we have the closest thing to a true number one contender at heavyweight, as Ngannou has knocked out his last four opponents in a combined 2 minutes, 42 seconds. We’ve never seen a heavyweight quite like “The Predator,” ladies and gentlemen.

The Official Result

Francis Ngannou def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik R1 0:20 via KO (Punches)

UFC Bantamweight Title Fight:
Henry Cejudo (135) vs. Dominick Cruz (135)

Round 1

Reaching the co-main event, the sole undisputed title on the card will be in the bantamweight division, as the showman Cejudo (15-2, 9-2 UFC) tries to make the first defense of his 135-pound belt against ex-champ Cruz (22-2, 5-1 UFC). Allowing a smidge of nonsense tonight is referee Keith Peterson, and there is a touch of gloves as the title fight is now clocked in. Cruz starts out with his footwork and movement that he is known most for, and Cejudo is trying to figure out the timing. Cejudo whips a heavy leg kick that catches the rear leg of Cruz, but the ex-champ is no worse for wear. Cruz throws one back, and takes another fierce kick from the champ. The two clash legs as they come together, and Cejudo backs off to go for that lead leg again. Those leg kicks are doing some damage already, as Cruz continues to switch stances to find his own offense. Cruz tries to jump out of the way of a kick, but Cejudo still lands on him. Cruz stands to check a kick, and Cejudo falls over. When Cruz pursues him to the ground, Cejudo scrambles to his feet. Cruz goes for a kick of his own, and Cejudo hits a quick takedown. As Cruz tries to get up, Cejudo lands a few punches to the side of Cruz’ head, but Cruz pays them no mind as he gets back up. Cejudo goes for another few leg kicks, and Cruz’ legs are swinging along with the kicks to try to take the sting out of them. Cruz tries to get his respect with a straight right hand, but Cejudo ignores it and comes back at him with a few more leg kicks and a thudding right hook. Cruz rolls with it and gets out of danger, but takes another leg kick. Cruz aims to the body with a jab, and the two exchange and just miss. Cejudo goes after the leg more, and Cruz tries to give it back to him but it is nothing doing. Cruz manages to follow a leg kick attempt with a good right hand, but gets blasted in the leg against for his effort. As Cruz comes in to fake for a takedown, Cejudo sprawls incredibly fast and they clash heads. “Triple C” fires one more leg kick as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cejudo
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Cejudo
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Cejudo

Round 2

Cruz starts off by sticking and moving, landing a few long punches and a head kick while escaping from danger. Cejudo tries to land another leg kick, and Cruz partially checks it as they trade hands. Cruz manages to catch Cejudo with a low kick, but it is Cejudo who is advancing forward to cut off the cage. Cruz lands another kick while circling out, but he gets nailed in the right leg with a thumping kick. Cruz scores with an uppercut as they come together, and Cejudo lands flush in counter. Cejudo changes levels to pursue a takedown but Cruz stands him up, so Cejudo goes back to the lead leg. Changing it up, Cejudo dings him with a head kick. When Cruz takes another leg kick, he ducks down to throw two big looping hooks. Both are ducked by the shorter fighter, and Cruz comes back to score a solid one-two. Two stiff punches from Cruz get Cejudo’s attention, and he lands again with a big right hand that gives Cejudo pause. Cejudo goes to the body this time with a kick, and fakes to change levels again to draw out a response from Cruz. “The Dominator” nearly kicks the leg out from beneath Cejudo, but the champ regains composure and whiffs on an overhand right. Cruz shoots in for a single, and when he bails on it after getting stuffed, he lands a stern left to keep Cejudo honest. They come together and clash heads, and a cut quickly opens up on the hairline of the champ. The doctor checks the cut to see if it is in a bad spot, and after a momentary pause to clear it, we resume the action with a superman punch for Cruz. Cejudo is enraged, and swarms Cruz with a plethora of strikes. Cruz catches a knee on the chin, and when he goes down, a big right hand cracks him on the jaw. Cejudo rains down punches, and Peterson takes a close look at the action. Cruz tries to walk his way up the cage, but Peterson stops the fight due to unanswered punches. Cruz immediately pops up to protest the stoppage, and is positively outraged by the call. Cejudo has now successfully defended his bantamweight title, and becomes the first fighter to ever knock out the durable Cruz.

In his post-fight interview, Cejudo thanks the company, Dana White, the fans, his girlfriend and everyone else. At 33 years of age and the champion of his division, Cejudo claims he has done what he wanted to do in the sport, and wants to start a family now. Surprisingly, he announces his retirement.

The Official Result

Henry Cejudo def. Dominick Cruz R2 4:58 via TKO (Knee and Punches)

UFC Interim Lightweight Title Fight
Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Justin Gaethje (155)

Round 1

Here we go, folks. It’s time for the main event, and the bonus checks have practically already been written for these two. For the interim lightweight belt, and a chance to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, is a potentially thrilling encounter between Ferguson (25-3, 15-1 UFC) and Gaethje (21-2, 4-2 UFC). Together, the two have pocketed 15 post-fight bonuses in their last 16 fights, and referee Herb Dean will look to keep things clean as they head into glorious battle. The glove touch leads into a few seconds of circling until Ferguson throws a front kick. Gaethje opens up with a leg kick, but it is shy of the mark. Tony turns his back to showboat a little, and then throws a superman punch that chains into a two punch combination. Gaethje loses his balance, but regains it quickly to throw a heavy left hand. Ferguson rolls with it, and eats a leg kick. Ferguson takes another hard leg kick and tries to counter over the top, but Gaethje is ready for him with a two-punch salvo. Ferguson scores an inside leg kick that slightly trips Gaethje, but “The Highlight” still manages to land a right hand. A thumping left hook from Gaethje surprises Ferguson, but “El Cucuy” is not too concerned with it. Ferguson jabs to the body and ducks down just in time to avoid a lethal left hook. Ferguson catches Gaethje with a head kick and immediately sticks him with a jab. Gaethje bullies him over, and Ferguson rolls out to get back up. Gaethje connects with another nasty leg kick, and both swing with crazy right hands that just miss. “The Highlight” scores a few more short kicks, and Ferguson is smiling at him as he tries to stick out long punches and kicks. Ferguson digs in with a low kick, and gets countered with a right hand that makes him stumble. A small mouse has formed on the center of Ferguson’s forehead, and he takes another right hand right to the same spot. They jab each other, and both crack each other with vicious left hooks. Gaethje comes at him with another, and a glancing eye poke leads to an apology from Gaethje. The round end with both men kicking at each other.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje

Round 2

They greet each other with punches in the face, as Ferguson sneaks in with another superman punch and Gaethje comes back with a right hand. They load up on big punches, and Gaethje connects with a blistering left hook but Ferguson takes it without issue. A thin trickle of blood appears to be coming from the nose of Gaethje, but he does not care as he commits to a thunderous left hand that nearly lifts Ferguson off the ground. Ferguson does not even show a wobble in his step, but takes a low kick when trying to show he is not hurt. Another kick from Gaethje makes Ferguson visibly react to it, and Ferguson swings and misses with a big hook. Gaethje throws one back that blows his hair back, and then clashes a right hand off the dome of his opponent. These two are trading one for the other, and both are having their moments of success. A one-two from Ferguson does not bother Gaethje, who replies with much heavier punches. The ex-WSOF champ rips to the body and then fires a left on the side of Ferguson’s head. Gaethje is loading up on all his punches, and busts up the nose of Ferguson and damages his eye. Gaethje swings from downtown to nail Ferguson on the head, but the former interim champ does not appear to be too concerned. Ferguson spins with a back elbow, and then turns about to land a leg kick. As Ferguson overcommits to an overhand right, a leg kick from Gaethje nearly buckles his knee. Gaethje digs deep and wings a right hand that would put most fighters on the canvas, but Ferguson wades through it. Two punches from Gaethje crack Ferguson on the chin, but like before, there is no reaction. With the round about to end, both men fire Mortal Kombat-esque uppercuts, and Ferguson lands flush and drops Gaethje. What a way to end the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje

Round 3

The two are not afraid to engage in Round 3, Ferguson is taking heavy shots but walks through them to land his own. The power significantly in the favor of Gaethje, Ferguson’s durability is unbelievable as he takes a picture-perfect right and left that bust him open. The damage is instant, as he is bleeding out of the side of his left eye while there is also a cut and a mouse forming under his right. Ferguson leaps forward with a trick punch, but Gaethje times it with a left hand to back him off. They time uppercuts on one another, and a crisp right hook nearly knocks Ferguson down. Gaethje senses he has him hurt, finally, and Gaethje is swinging to finish the fight. Ferguson comes back with an uppercut, and blows his nose out while walking him down. Gaethje cracks Ferguson about as good as anyone could possibly land, and Ferguson takes it like no one else. “El Cucuy” strings together a few punches while avoiding the counter left hook that comes his way. Ferguson catches him on the end of a left hand, but Gaethje is still loading up on right hands that are connecting with ferocious intent. A few jabs to the body force a momentary deep breath from Gaethje, and Ferguson sweeps low to kick Gaethje’s legs out. Ferguson starts to get loose, faking wild arm movement to get his way in and tag Gaethje. Gaethje cracks him with a head kick and follows it with a ridiculous right hand, and yet again Ferguson eats it. A leg kick from Gaethje and a few kicks from each fighter conclude this ludicrous round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje

Round 4

Gaethje begins the round with a heavy leg kick, and Ferguson is hunched low perhaps to throw Gaethje off. Ferguson’s corner Eddie Bravo recommended that Ferguson pursue an Imanari roll to surprise Gaethje, which could be the reason for his low stance. Ferguson misses with a wheel kick, and Gaethje comes back with a powerful right hand. “El Cucuy” loads up on an elbow but he get caught on the way in, and when he tries to gain distance, he gets clipped with a right. Lefts and rights are coming en masse for Gaethje, but the former WSOF champion lands an incredibly successful leg kick that makes Ferguson grimace as he spins around. Ferguson sneaks him with a left hand, and Gaethje returns fire with a devastating right hand that wobbles his legs. That shot finally damaged the chin of Ferguson, and the leg kicks have been helping as well. Ferguson avoids some damage while spinning against the fence, and they get back to the center of the cage while Gaethje rips a few more leg kicks. Ferguson gets his sea legs about him, and as they come together, a low kick from Ferguson lands low. Gaethje shakes it off, and Dean pauses it for just a moment before Gaethje waves him off to keep fighting. Gaethje does not want to let Ferguson off the hook, but Ferguson is the one engaging now in the form of a multitude of jabs off the bow. As Ferguson goes for another jab, Gaethje blasts the lead leg and makes Ferguson’s knee buckle. Ferguson somehow manages to walk through it, so Gaethje gives one more for good measure. Both men trade head kicks, and the fourth round is now in the books.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje
Mike Sloan scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje

Round 5

Gaethje shows no fear as he begins the round with a right hand and a leg kick that gives Ferguson pause. Ferguson manages to check the kick, and his shins are bleeding as a result. A right hand from Gaethje stings him, and Ferguson wears it well to get back his composure. Gaethje racks him with two more punches, and a leg kick forces Ferguson to limp. Ferguson kicks Gaethje’s leg, and Gaethje is not thrilled with having to each that along with another that follows. Two punches from Ferguson are countered by Gaethje, who clubs him in the face with punches that make Ferguson do the chicken dance. Hurt again, Ferguson bounces back against the fence, but still manages to come back around. In a desperate effort, Ferguson rolls for that Imanari roll, but Gaethje is a long way away. Ferguson gets back up, and Gaethje makes him pay for it with a few loud leg kicks and thudding right hands. He connects with another few right hands, and Ferguson wears them shocking well given how much damage he has accumulated over the course of the fight. The head strike totals from Gaethje are likely astronomical, and a stiff left jab sends Ferguson into a walking stupor. Ferguson is falling across the cage, and Gaethje chases him down while Ferguson’s eyes are badly damaged and blinded with blood. A few more punches from Gaethje force Dean to intervene and stop the fight, and this is a righteous stoppage even though Ferguson doesn’t agree with it. What a battle, what total mayhem that was. Gaethje is now the first fighter to ever knock out the otherworldly durable Ferguson. Justin Gaethje is now the new interim UFC lightweight champion, and scored himself a chance to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov. In his post-fight interview, Gaethje hurls the interim belt off of his waist, and tells Joe Rogan, “I want the real one.”

The Official Result

Justin Gaethje def. Tony Ferguson R5 3:39 via TKO (Punches)
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