UFC 249: Justin Gaethje TKO’s Tony Ferguson to win UFC interim title
Justin Gaethje stole the show at UFC 249 with the greatest performance of his career.
With reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov unable to compete due to travel restrictions, the show would still go on. UFC 249 was re-booked for Jacksonville, Florida, after tireless work from the UFC. Tony Ferguson and Jusin Gaethje collided in the main event at UFC 249, vying for the UFC lightweight interim title.
The two found their footing quickly, exchanging strikes. Initially Gaethje connected with several hard strikes, but Ferguson was unfazed. Despite that Gaethje continued to score several hard hooks, winning the round.
Gaethje landed another vicious left hook in the beginning of the second round, but not dropping his opponent. Ferguson had trouble finding his distance and rhythm, with Gaethje countering him on several occasions. Eventually Ferguson began landing more shots, remaining in the fight. He continued to push forward, constantly pressuring Gaethje, and dropping him at the end of the round.
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Ferguson kept on pressing the action in the third round, not tiring and setting a relentless pace. During exchanges, Gaethje opened up two cuts in the face of Ferguson, who developed swelling under his right eye. As the fight went on, the tide began shifting in Ferguson’s favour, still getting occasionally clipped by shots that would have dropped most.
The continued the same pace in the fourth round, both landing strikes. Halfway through the round Gaethje connected with another brutal hook, rocking Ferguson. The former interim champ managed to regain his composure, and eased back into the same pace he held previously. Toward the end of the round Gaethje landed another haymaker, shaking Ferguson more than ever seen before, being saved by the round ending.
Gaethje held the same momentum in the final round, landing several hard strikes and leg kicks. He continued to rock Ferguson with calculated, brutal strikes, leaving the commentators speechless at how he managed to survive. Ferguson’s resilience was certainly tested, as Gaethje pulled away, landing a series of fight-ending strikes that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
With that Gaethje is now the UFC interim lightweight champion.