UFC fans were blessed with an awesome fight on UFC 249 night as Justin Gaethje took on the former lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson, finishing him in the fifth round and winning the fight.
Gaethje was very lethal, leaving Ferguson all bloodied up with cuts around his face. Gaethje was the replacement after Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the fixture.
The first round opened up with both fighters going at each other. Although Gaethje landed heavy punches, Ferguson took it all without a fuss and landed hits as well, although they were not as hard or as much as that of his opponent, although he landed a very hard punch once, Gaethje remained on his feet. The round ended just as Gaethje shot a punch to the opponent’s side.
The second round began just like the end of the first, as Gaethje was quick to plant a hook at Ferguson’s side, but this time, Ferguson followed with a punch of his own.
Gaethje continued with the hits, punching Ferguson as much as he could, although he was beginning to get tired from it all. Ferguson replied with his blows, being just as vicious, with more focus on the other man’s legs. This time, it was Ferguson that gave the last punch as the round ended, sending Gaethje to the floor.
It was in the third round that Gaethje started doing the real damage, tearing up Ferguson’s face, just below his right eye. Nevertheless, Ferguson began the round with much determination, trying not to slow down.
But Gaethje was resolute to do enough damage as he could and a punch with the right hand fazed Ferguson, followed with subsequent punches. Ferguson, however, remains standing, even after a kick to the head.
The fourth round was just as impressive as Ferguson remained standing, moving about and landing as many punches as he could. Gaethje continued to throw hooks left and right, but Ferguson met all of them with almost equal force.
Gaethje still managed to stun Ferguson again, but that did not last as Ferguson was quick to recover and was back at punching. Gaethje was quick to land two kicks just as the round ended.
The fifth round was where things went to the max as Gaethje was determined to win but did not rush it. He managed to hurt Ferguson as much as he could, making him weak in the knees.
Ferguson could not do much but move about the ring as Gaethje continued to hit him. By that time, Ferguson was looking so beat up, bloody, and tired, especially Gaethje landed a punch on his head, and it was a relief when referee Herb Dean called the match off, something Ferguson was not in support of.
Gaethje won the interim belt for the lightweight division, although he was reluctant to collect it at first, saying, “I can’t become complacent.” For Gaethje, defeating Ferguson is not enough as he still has to face Khabib and he explained that he does not want the win to get to his head, although he later accepted the belt.
Meanwhile, Khabib reacted to the match with a tweet saying, “it was so impressive, congratulations. Very smart fight.” Gaethje won two match bonuses of $50,000 each and Ferguson won one of $50,000 as well for “fight of the night”.
In another fight of the night, Francis Ngannou defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds, ending the other man’s unbeaten record. Although after the match, Francis confessed that he was not aiming for a quick finish. He also won the bonus prize money for “performance of the night”, together with Gaethje.
Written by: Leon Osamor