The UFC has said Tony Ferguson will face Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title at the main event of UFC 249 on April 19 (AEST).
Gaethje replaces light champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is apparently unable to leave Russia during the coronavirus pandemic on a map that includes eleven other bouts.
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Although UFC President Dana White has yet to announce a location for UFC 249, he remains committed to hosting a pay-per-view show this month.
Most of the UFC fighters have expressed their readiness to fight during the pandemic, and the organization has been able to host a number of exciting encounters, including Jessica Andrade against Rose Namajunas II, and Francis Ngannou against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
UFC 249 was originally scheduled for Brooklyn, but a relocation became necessary several weeks ago. ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner, said that White was trying to secure an unnamed location on the west coast for the broadcast.
The UFC held a full combat card in an empty arena in Brazil last month, but canceled its three scheduled shows. White has remained firm in his plan to host the company’s biggest show in the spring, while virtually all top-level sporting competition has ceased.
Ferguson (25-3) is a longtime light competitor who has been booked to fight Nurmagomedov five times. Each fight failed due to injury or other circumstances.
Gaethje (20-2) is among the most exciting fighters in the UFC, with a carefree fighting mentality that suggests an exciting confrontation with equally reckless Ferguson.
“I’m terrified and I love it,” Gaethje tweeted after the announcement.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje – Interim Lightweight Title
Jessica Andrade vs Rose Namajunas – straw weight for women
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro – Heavyweight
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price – welterweight
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar – featherweight
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza – middleweight
Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Morales – light
Marlon Vera vs Ray Borg – bantamweight
Michael Johnson vs Khama Worthy – light
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras – women’s bantamweight
Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey – light lightweight