UFC 249 gets the go ahead… without Khabib

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Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje steps in to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. Photo: UFC via Getty Images.

The UFC returns on 18 April (19 April in Asia) with a stacked UFC 249 card featuring an interim lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje has been installed to replace lightweight champion Nurmagomedov, who was unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With a combined 17 post-fight performance bonuses, no. 1 ranked lightweight Ferguson (26-3) and no. 4 ranked Gaethje (21-2) have thrilled fans like no other duo over the last several years, defeating the likes of Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza.

Now with an interim title on the line, expect to see the best from the best as these top contenders collide in a five-round bout to air live on pay-per-view.

Remaining intact from the original UFC 249 card is the highly anticipated rematch between former strawweight champions Jessica Andrade (20-7) and Rose Namajunas (9-4) as well as pivotal matchups between Jeremy Stephens (28-17) and Calvin Kattar (20-4).

Number 10 ranked middleweight Uriah Hall (16-9) and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-8) will meet while women’s bantamweight Sijara Eubanks (5-4) will face Sarah Moras (5-6).

Two explosive heavyweight showdowns from the postponed UFC Columbus event have found a home on the UFC 249 card, as Francis Ngannou (14-3) squares off with Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) and Greg Hardy (5-2) takes on Yorgan De Castro (5-0).

A venue is yet to be revealed, but UFC boss Dana While is said to be looking to hold the event on a private island.

“The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH,” he said via social media.

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