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UFC 249 live results: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, Cejudo vs. Cruz

Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, emanating from the Vystar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

The UFC returns to action after nearly two months off during the COVID-19 pandemic, returning with a stacked card that features two title fights and lots of former champions and title challengers sprinkled throughout the deep lineup.

In the main event, the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship is on the line as Tony Ferguson looks to become a two-time interim champion when he takes on Justin Gaethje. Ferguson was originally going to have his long-awaited fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but when Nurmagomedov returned to Russia during the pandemic, in stepped Gaethje to get a title shot he's been chasing since signing with the UFC. Ferguson has won his last twelve fights while Gaethje is on a three-fight win streak, with all of those wins coming by first-round knockout.

In the co-main event, UFC Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo defends the title for the first time against former champion Dominick Cruz, who returns from being out of action for over three years due to various injuries. Cruz is considered the best bantamweight of all-time, a title that Cejudo would like to take from him, and Cruz is looking to become the first fighter to be a three-time champion at 135 pounds.

Also on the main card is a heavyweight top contender fight as sluggers Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik collide. Exciting featherweights Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar will do battle, and the main card opens with another heavyweight bout as Greg Hardy takes on Yorgan De Castro.

A stacked preliminary card is topped off with Donald Cerrone taking on former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis in a rematch of a 2013 bout won by Pettis. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum returns from a two-year suspension layoff to take on Aleksei Oleinik. The first-ever UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza will battle Michelle Waterson, as well as a welterweight bout between Vicente Luque and Niko Price.

Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.

We are looking for your thoughts on tonight's event, so send a thumbs up, a thumbs down or a thumbs in the middle along with a best fight and a worst fight to Dave at dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

ESPN PRELIMS | 7 PM ET/4 PM PT

> Ryan Spann (17-5, 3-0 UFC) vs. Sam Alvey (33-13 1 NC, 10-8 UFC)
Light Heavyweights

Alvey was acknowledging the non-existent crowd. Spann gets an early takedown. Alvey works to his feet but Spann has a standing arm-triangle locked in. Alvey with some body punches. It is in deep and Alvey is turning red. Spann lets go and then lands a knee. They are trading and Alvey lands the right hook. Spann lands a right hand and a knee and is looking for a takedown. Alvey with a knee to the body. 10-9 Spann.

Spann with a head kick to start the second. Spann with a combo as he shoots in for a takedown. They break. Alvey lands a right hook and Spann counters with a right hand. Spann lands a right hand. Spann pressing the action and lands a body kick. Alvey lands a left hand followed by a right hand. Spann with a right hand. Alvey with some low kicks. Spann lands a left hand. 10-9 Spann, 20-18 Spann.

They quickly clinch as Spann pishes Alvey against the fence. They break and Spann lands a high kick and starts unloading punches on Alvey but Alvey is able to circle away. Alvey lands a short uppercut that stuns Spann. Spann lands a combo and then a hard right hand. Spann with a right hand and Alvey counters with a right hook. Alvey with a high kick. Alvey stuns Spann with a right hook and Spann tries for a takedown. Alvey grabs the neck and is looking for a choke but doesn't have it in. Spann gets to his feet and they are clinched. They break and Spann is exhausted. Alvey with a left hand and then a right hand and hurts Spann again. Alvey with a strong end to the fight. 10-9 Alvey, 29-28 Spann.

Official Result- Ryan Spann def. Sam Alvey by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

> Bryce Mitchell (12-0, 3-0 UFC) vs. Charles Rosa (12-3, 3-3 UFC)
Featherweights

Mitchell gets an early takedown against the fence. Mitchell gets the back and now gets on top and has an arm-triangle locked in deep. Rosa is breathing heavy. Rosa escapes and Mitchell has the back. Mitchell landing from the back and he is now going for another twister. He has it locked in but not in good position and lets go and moves to full mount. Mitchell landing big punches and now gets another arm-triangle choke locked in deep. Rosa gets out and has Mitchell in his guard. Rosa survives the round. Dominant from Mitchell. 10-8 Mitchell.

Mitchell gets another takedown to start the second and is working for another arm-triangle choke. He has full mount and is still working hard to find chokes. Mitchell has the mount and lands a big elbow and now some punches from the mount. Mitchell trying to transition as Rosa is grabbing a leg and Mitchell now going for the arm-triangle again. He has it in pretty good here. Mitchell with some body punches. Mitchell going for the twister again and lands some big elbows to the body. He had it but the round ended. 10-8 Mitchell, 20-16 Mitchell.

Mitchell gets a quick takedown to start the third and is going for the twister again. Rosa escapes and Mitchell moves to side control. Rosa tries to get to his feet but Mitchell retains side control. Mitchell now gets the back and moves to the mount. Mitchell working for the arm-triangle again. Mitchell scrambling every time Rosa tries to defend the position. Mitchell with an elbow. Rosa told him to stand and Mitchell stood for a split-second and got back on top. Mitchell with the crucifix position. They stand late. 10-8 Mitchell, 30-24 Mitchell.

Official Result- Bryce Mitchell def. Charles Rosa by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)

> Vicente Luque (#13, 17-7-1, 10-3 UFC) vs. Niko Price (14-3 1 NC, 6-3 1 NC UFC)
Welterweights

They trade early and Luque landing some leg kicks. Luque with a leg kick and Price lands a right hand. They trade punches. They trade combos. Luque with some punches and body kicks. Price with a leg kick and follows with a right hand. Luque with a right hand. They trade kicks and Luque with a right hand. They trade right hands. Price with a hook to the body. Luque with a right hand and Price counters with a right. Luque with a combo. Price with a front kick and follows it with a right hand. Price throwing some big punches and then gets a takedown. Price goes for a D'arce choke but Luque escapes to his feet. Luque with a left hook and ends with a hard right hand. Wild round. 10-9 Luque.

Price with a leg kick and Luque lands a leg kick. Price with a right hand. We have a low blow and a timeout. Back to action and Luque lands a hard combo. They trade leg kicks. Price with a crescent kick and Luque counters with a right hand. They trade kicks and punches. Price with a combo and elbow against the fence and a knee to the body. Price swinging wildly and then Luque drops him to his knees with a punch. Price gets up and they separate and Price is wobbly. They clinch against the fence. They break and Luque with a snapping jab. Price with a front kick to the body and they trade punches. Price with a right hand and Luque returns a hard leg kick. They trade at the end. 10-9 Luque, 20-18 Luque.

Luque with some big leg kicks as the third starts. Price is throwing leg kicks as well. Luque lands some good punches and Price lands some counters. Price's face is a mess. They are trading in the pocket. Luque landing some hard punches. Luque with an uppercut and Price fires back with a right hand. Luque with a big left hand and Price falls to the ground. Luque goes down into his guard. Price tries for a triangle and lands some elbows. They stand. A timeout is called to check on the cuts on Price's face and the fight is stopped. This was a great fight.

Official Result- Vicente Luque def. Niko Price by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 3:37 of Round 3

> Carla Esparza (#7, 15-6, 6-4 UFC) vs. Michelle Waterson (#8, 17-7, 5-3 UFC)
Women's Strawweights

A lot of feeling out each other in the first minute. Waterson with some leg kicks and Esparza isn't doing much in the way of offense. Waterson with a leg kick. Esparza tries to rush in and close the distance but Waterson escapes. Esparza with a right hand. Waterson with a leg kick. Waterson with a body kick. Waterson with a leg kick followed by a quick round kick. Esparza having trouble closing the distance. Esparza able to get a takedown. Waterson showing good defense on the ground. 10-9 Waterson.

They are feeling each other out to start the second. Waterson with some body kicks. They trade punches and Esparza not doing a lot of offense. Waterson with a leg kick. Esparza goes for a takedown but Waterson defends and they break and Waterson with a knee to the body. Esparza shoots in again but Waterson defends and lands another knee to the body. Waterson with a leg kick. Esparza lands a combo as Waterson circles away. Waterson with a high kick. 10-9 Waterson, 20-18 Waterson.

Waterson with a high kick to start the third. Esparza tries a takedown but Waterson easily defends. Esparza with a right hand but doesn't follow up on it. Waterson with a leg kick. Esparza lands a leg kick. Esparza attempts a takedown but Waterson changes levels and defends but Esparza lands a few knees to the body. Waterson with some leg kicks. Waterson with a leg kick and Esparza grabs it and tries a takedown against the fence but Waterson defends. Waterson with a body kick as Esparza rushes in. Big right hand from Esparza. Esparza tries a takedown but Waterson defends with a knee to the body. Esparza rushes in with a combo. Waterson with a roundhouse kick and Esparza tees off with a combo but separates. 10-9 Waterson, 30-27 Waterson.

Official Result- Carla Esparza def. Michelle Waterson by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)

> Aleksei Oleinik (#12, 58-13-1, 7-4 UFC) vs. Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1, 11-5 UFC)
Heavyweights

Werdum returns from a USADA suspension. Oleinik with a right hand. Werdum lands a right hand. Oleinik throws a combo but Werdum is covering up. Werdum with a step-in knee to the body. Oleinik with a right hand. Oleinik is just teeing off on Werdum. Oleinik with some hard right hands that are hurting Werdum. Werdum with a right hand and a knee. They are tied up and trading. Oleinik with a jab. They are tied up and Oleinik is landing body shots. They break. Oleinik with some body punches. Oleinik with a left hand. Oleinik with an overhand right. Oleinik grabs the back at the end. 10-9 Oleinik.

Oleinik with a right hand and they clinch. Werdum grabs the neck and looking for a standing guillotine. They break. They trade and both land some punches. Werdum with some knees to the body. They trade right hands. Werdum with a leg kick. Oleinik with a right hand. Werdum with a head kick that lands. Oleinik breathing heavy. Werdum gets a takedown and is in side control. Werdum lands from side control and then takes the back but was high and Oleinik got out from under and they stand. They both throw winging punches and Werdum lands a knee. Oleinik lands a right hand. 10-9 Werdum, 19-19.

Werdum with a leg kick. Werdum gets a sloppy takedown and is in the half-guard. Oleinik is able to sweep to the top and is in the closed guard of Werdum. Werdum looking for the arm trying to find the kimura from the bottom. He pops the arm out and rolls to the top and Werdum had a straight armbar but lets that go. Werdum is now in full mount and looks to take the back. Werdum looks for an armbar. He lets go but goes back to mount. They slip to their feet. They quickly clinch. Werdum with a knee to the body. Oleinik lands some good punches. Werdum with a big knee. Werdum gets a late takedown. Oleinik has a cut open and Werdum goes for a late guillotine but time runs out. 10-9 Werdum, 29-28 Werdum.

Official Result- Aleksei Oleinik def. Fabricio Werdum by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

> Donald Cerrone (#6 LW, 36-14 1 NC, 23-11 UFC) vs. Anthony Pettis (#15, 22-10, 9-9 UFC)
Welterweights

Cerrone with a front kick to the body. Cerrone lands a left hand. Pettis with a right hand to the body. Cerrone with a right hand and then a leg kick. Cerrone with a right hand and then grabs the back standing. Pettis with a right hand. Cerrone with a combo. Pettis with a jump kick and Cerrone turns it into a takedown and is in side control. They get to their feet. Cerrone with a good combo and Pettis lands a left hand. Cerrone with a combo and Pettis lands a cracking right hand counter. Cerrone with a left hand. 10-9 Cerrone.

Pettis with a right hand to start the second. Pettis with a leg kick. They both throw kicks as the same time. Cerrone with a left hand. Pettis stuns Cerrone with a left hand. Cerrone with a leg kick and Pettis almost caught him with a spinning back fist. Cerrone with a leg kick. Pettis with a jumping switch kick. Pettis with a good combo ending with a left hand. They trade in close range. They trade and Cerrone scores a takedown. Pettis with short punches from the bottom and they stand and Cerrone lands a knee to the body. Cerrone with a body kick. 10-9 Pettis, 19-19.

Cerrone with a body kick. Pettis lands a left hand. Cerrone with a high kick and then lands a nice combo. Cerrone with a body kick. Cerrone grabs the leg but lets go. Cerrone with a combo ending with a body kick. Pettis with a big body kick and Cerrone grabs it and they clinch against the fence. Cerrone lands a knee to the body on the break. Pettis with a high kick. Cerrone with a low kick. They trade and Cerrone complains he got poked in the eye but the ref says it was a punch and Pettis teed off for a moment. Pettis just barely misses a high kick. Cerrone with a big high kick that lands clean and Pettis somehow takes it. Pettis with a left hand. Pettis with a big body kick. A wild exchange to end the fight. Close fight. 10-9 Cerrone, 29-28 Cerrone.

Official Result- Anthony Pettis def. Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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> Greg Hardy (5-2 1 NC, 2-2 1 NC UFC) vs. Yorgan De Castro (6-0, 1-0 UFC)
Heavyweights

De Castro coming out firing. He lands a low kick. De Castro with a left hook. Hardy with a left hand. De Castro with a combo. Hardy with a high kick. De Castro landing when Hardy comes in close. Hardy with a leg kick. De Castro stuns Hardy with a right hand. De Castro with a leg kick. They trade kicks and punches in close range and both stun the other. Hardy with a high kick as De Castro is backed up against the fence. 10-9 De Castro.

De Castro with a leg kick. Hardy lands a leg kick of his own. De Castro rushes in with a nice combo. De Castro with more leg kicks. De Castro lands another leg kick and Hardy checks it and De Castro may have hurt his foot. Hardy with a leg kick followed by a jab. Hardy with another leg kick. De Castro is doing nothing. 10-9 Hardy, 19-19.

Hardy with a big right hand to start the third. De Castro with a body kick. Hardy with an inside leg kick. Hardy with a hard leg kick. Hardy is landing more as not much is going on and De Castro has slowed down considerably. This fight wasn't good. 10-9 Hardy, 29-28 Hardy.

Official Result- Greg Hardy def. Yorgan De Castro by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

> Jeremy Stephens (#7, 28-17 1 NC, 15-16 1 NC UFC) vs. Calvin Kattar (#9, 20-4, 4-2 UFC)
Featherweights* (Stephens missed weight by 4.5 pounds)

Stephens with a quick combo and a body kick. Stephens with some leg kicks. Stephens with a body punch followed by a leg kick. Kattar with a body punch. Kattar with a leg kick. They trade in close range. Stephens with a body kick followed by a leg kick. Kattar with a leg kick. Stephens with some leg kicks. Stephens with a quick combo and is still attacking with leg kicks. They trade leg kicks. Stephens with a right hand. Stephens with a couple of body kicks. Stephens with a hard leg kick and Kattar's leg is hurting. Stephens with a jab and Kattar fires back with a massive right hand. They trade late. Stephens with a hard body punch. 10-9 Stephens.

Stephens with a leg kick. They trade leg kicks. Kattar lands a right hand and then lands a low kick. Stephens with a body kick. They trade punches in close range. Stephens with a right hand. They are trading in close range. Kattar with a good combo. Kattar pouring it on. Kattar lands another combo and Stephens tries for a takedown and lands an elbow as they break. Kattar then lands a huge elbow that knocks Stephens down and then Kattar lands a huge elbow on the ground that cuts Stephens open and the fight is stopped. What a finish by Kattar and a huge win.

Official Result- Calvin Kattar def. Jeremy Stephens by knockout (elbows) at 2:42 of Round 2

> Francis Ngannou (#2, 14-3, 9-2 UFC) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (#6, 10-0, 4-0 UFC)
Heavyweights

Rozenstruik with an early inside leg kick. Ngannou then throws a combo and lands a left hook that knocks Rozenstruik out cold. It went less than twenty seconds. Ngannou is ridiculous.

Official Result- Francis Ngannou def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by knockout (punches) at :20 of Round 1

> Henry Cejudo (C, 15-2, 9-2 UFC) vs. Dominick Cruz (22-2, 5-1 UFC)
UFC Bantamweight Championship

Cejudo with a heavy leg kick. Cejudo with another. Cejudo lands another. Cruz using his movement but Cejudo is landing the leg kicks. Cejudo lands another and they scramble for a moment. Cruz with a knee and Cejudo gets a takedown but they get right back up. Cejudo with another leg kick. Cruz with a short uppercut to the body. Cejudo lands a combo. Cejudo with more leg kicks. Cruz lands a nice shot at the end. 10-9 Cejudo.

Cejudo with more leg kicks to start the second. Cruz lands a leg kick. Cejudo with another leg kick. They exchange punches in close range. Cejudo with another leg kick. Cruz lands a nice right hand. Cruz lands a nice combo in close. They trade in close range. Cejudo lands a nice right hand. Cejudo with a body kick and follows it with a right hand. Cruz with a nice inside kick that caught Cejudo's attention. There was a clash of heads and a cut is open on Cejudo's head. We have a timeout. We get back to action. Cejudo then lands a knee right to the jaw and Cruz stumbles to the mat and Cejudo starts to land punches and was landing a lot and it is stopped as Cruz was working to his feet. It was a close, questionable stoppage but Cejudo gets the win and remains the champion.

Official Result- Henry Cejudo def. Dominick Cruz by TKO (strikes) at 4:58 of Round 2 to retain the UFC Bantamweight Championship

> Tony Ferguson (#1, 25-3, 15-1 UFC) vs. Justin Gaethje (#4, 21-2, 4-2 UFC)
Interim UFC Lightweight Championship

Gaethje with a leg kick. Ferguson lands a kick followed by a punch. Ferguson with a combo. They trade punches. Ferguson lands a leg kick as Gaethje lands a left hand. Ferguson with a leg kick after Gaethje lands some punches. Gaethje with a leg kick. Ferguson with a high kick followed by a jab. They trade punches but neither one really landed. Gaethje lands a combo. Gaethje lands a right hand as Ferguson was coming in. They both land left hooks at the same time. Gaethje lands another left hook. 10-9 Gaethje.

Gaethje with a right hand to start the second. They both throw and Gaethje lands the left hook. Gaethje lands a left hand. Ferguson's chin is something else. Gaethje with a couple of leg kicks. Gaethje landing way more right now. Ferguson lands a right hand. Gaethje lands a right hand. Gaethje with a left hook. Ferguson not getting a lot of offense. Ferguson lands a high kick. Gaethje lands some more hard punches and Ferguson is just eating them. Ferguson lands a few leg kicks. Gaethje missing more punches right now but then lands a left hook. Ferguson lands a combo. Ferguson lands an uppercut that drops Gaethje right at the end. 10-9 Gaethje, 20-18 Gaethje.

Ferguson coming out strong to start the third. Gaethje lands a right hand. Ferguson lands a combo but Gaethje land a left hook. Ferguson is cut around both of his eyes. Ferguson with a short uppercut. Gaethje stuns him with a right hand. Ferguson lands a right hand and then a left hook. Gaethje with another right hand and then lands a hard combo. Gaethje keeps spitting blood onto the Octagon mat. Ferguson's face is a mess. Ferguson with a sweeping leg kick. They trade in close range. 10-9 Gaethje, 30-27 Gaethje.

They trade leg kicks to start the third. Gaethje lands a right hand. Gaethje lands a left hook. Gaethje lands some good shots in close. Ferguson with a leg kick and Gaethje lands a counter left hand. They trade in close range. Gaethje hurts Ferguson with a right hand. Gaethje lands a hard right hand. A groin strike from Ferguson and we have a timeout. Ferguson with a jab and then a left hook. Gaethje with a leg kick. They trade in close range. They trade high kicks at the end. 10-9 Gaethje, 40-36 Gaethje.

Gaethje lands a right hand and then lands a combination. Gaethje with a leg kick. Ferguson is limping. Gaethje lands the jab and then a huge left hook that hurts Ferguson. Gaethje with the jab. Ferguson with a leg kick. They trade and Gaethje lands some huge punches. Gaethje with the jab that sends Ferguson to one knee for a brief second. Gaethje with a big combo. Gaethje lands a punch that hurts Ferguson and he is hurt standing and Herb Dean stops the fight. An unreal showing from Gaethje as he ends Ferguson's win streak and wins UFC gold.

Official Result- Justin Gaethje def. Tony Ferguson by TKO (strikes) at 3:39 of Round 5 to win the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship