The UFC is intending to return on May 9, and here are all the fights that look to be happening on that card.
About a week after UFC 249 and all future UFC cards were deemed postponed, the UFC is attempting to end its forced hiatus quickly with a card on May 9 at a location still to be determined.
Per a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, UFC president Dana White has stated the promotion is looking to return on May 9 and get back on schedule.
Despite the global coronavirus pandemic forcing an empty arena for UFC Brasilia last month, as well as the scraping of UFC London, UFC Columbus and UFC Portland, White and company looked to continue on holding events — including events such as UFC 249 and UFC 250, the latter of which was originally scheduled for May 9, to be hosted at the Tachi Palace in Lemoore, CA.
White was eventually asked to stand down by the heads of Disney and ESPN (ESPN, the UFC’s broadcaster, is a Disney property).
Proposed fights for the May 9 card include the following:
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje (interim UFC lightweight championship)
As the classic tale has gone, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson were booked to face one another at UFC 249 before things fell apart: UFC 249 was forced out of Brooklyn and then Nurmagomedov got stuck in Russia on lockdown before the whole event was postponed thanks to the coronavirus.
Before the event’s postponement, however, an interim championship bout between Ferguson and Justin Gaethje was announced as the new main event. Ferguson has won 12 straight, and with a win, he will become the first UFC fighter to win interim gold twice in the promotion. Gaethje, currently ranked No. 4 at lightweight, has won three straight in the first round and has earned post-fight bonuses in each of his six Octagon bouts so far.
Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer (UFC women’s featherweight championship)
Before UFC 250’s postponement, Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer was scheduled to serve as the co-main event of UFC 250.
Nunes has won 10 straight, winning the UFC women’s bantamweight championship at UFC 200 and defending it five times thus far. This, however, marks her first defense of the UFC women’s featherweight title since scoring a shocking, first-round knockout of Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 to become the first female champ-champ in UFC history.
Spencer, the former Invicta featherweight champion, got an upset first-round submission of Megan Anderson in her Octagon debut last year before going the distance in a loss to Cyborg. She successfully returned at UFC Norfolk in February, finishing Zarah Fairn Dos Santos in the first round of their bout.
Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight championship)
Henry Cejudo vs. Jose Aldo was the originally booked main event for UFC 250, but Aldo was forced off the card when the event was moved from Brazil. On that same day, Dominick Cruz was reported to be Aldo’s replacement.
This will mark Cejudo’s first defense of the UFC bantamweight championship since winning it last year at UFC 238 to become the fourth champ-champ in UFC history.
Cruz came over to the UFC from the WEC as bantamweight champion, but after 2011, several injuries and surgeries forced him to vacate the UFC title in early 2014. Cruz successfully regained the championship against TJ Dillashaw in January 2016 and retained it against Urijah Faber at UFC 199 before losing to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. Another string of injuries has forced Cruz to the sidelines again since the Garbrandt loss.
Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Francis Ngannnou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, a bout of heavyweight contenders, was originally booked for the main event of UFC Columbus on March 28. When that event was canceled, it was scheduled to be the televised prelim headliner for UFC 249 before that event was postponed.
Ngannou was a quickly rising star in the heavyweight division before losing a title shot against Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 and competing in one of the worst bouts in UFC history at UFC 226 against Derrick Lewis. Since then, however, he’s bounced back with three straight first-round knockouts, defeating Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Rozenstruik made his UFC debut in 2019 and earned his way to being FanSided MMA’s Rookie of the Year. After disposing Junior Albini, Rozenstruik knocked out Allen Crowder in six seconds before taking out Andrei Arlovski at New York’s Madison Square Garden at UFC 244. He then competed on short notice against Alistair Overeem and was seconds away from losing before delivering a last-second, come-from-behind knockout to stay undefeated.
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
After announcing White’s statement and the four previously potential fights, Okamoto added that a welterweight bout between fan-favorites Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis has been verbally agreed to.
Cerrone returned to the lightweight division in 2019 and scored wins over Alexander Hernandez and Al Iaquinta before suffering TKO losses to Ferguson and Gaethje. He then returned to 170 to face Conor McGregor in the Irish superstar’s return at UFC 246, losing in 40 seconds by TKO.
Pettis, the former UFC lightweight champion, had a successful welterweight debut against Stephen Thompson last year before a loss to Nate Diaz in his return at UFC 241. Pettis also competed at UFC 246, getting submitted by Carlos Diego Ferreira in a lightweight bout.
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