Best and Worst Changes Made to UFC 249 Full Card Lineup

UFC's Tony Ferguson


UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson is no more, but the massive pay-per-view event is moving forward anyway with a new main event and tons of new undercard scraps. Here’s a review of what UFC 249 was before the COVID-19 pandemic and what it is today after UFC president Dana White announced some epic changes to the upcoming PPV event scheduled for April 18.

UFC 249: Full Card Lineup

Not much was known about the new UFC 249 full card lineup when White announced that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was being replaced by No. 4-ranked UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje on the card and that the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Gaethje would claim the UFC’s interim lightweight championship.

Winning that interim belt would give the winner of UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje the next crack at Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight championship, which presumedly could happen later this year.

In fact, Nurmagomedov previously revealed he’d be ready to fight again as soon as October.

But the full card was later announced by the UFC via Twitter.

Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro
Vincente Luque vs. Niko Price
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Francis Ngannou vs. Jairinho Rozenstruik
Uriah Hall vs. Jacare Souza
Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Morales
Marlon Vera vs. Ray Borg
Michael Johnson vs. Khama Worthy
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey

UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson (Original Lineup)

For comparison, below is the originally planned UFC 249 card.

UFC 249 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Hernandez
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar

UFC 249 Prelims (ESPN)
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Lyman Good vs. Belal Muhammad
Khama Worthy vs. Ottman Azaitar
Gian Villante vs. Ben Rothwell

UFC 249 Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Karl Roberson vs. Makhmud Muradov
Hunter Azure vs. Umar Nurmagomedov

Best and Worst Changes Made to UFC 249

The best changes made to UFC 249 are easy to spot.

First, the venue change from Barclays in Brooklyn, New York was massively important because otherwise the entire card would have been canceled or postponed by now. In fact, if you were rooting for UFC 249 to happen no matter what, White’s decision to keep looking for viable venues in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak was probably the single best thing to happen.

Secondarily, it’s probably just as important that White has kept his location options secret. That gives the public and media less time to lob complaints at the event’s organizers and keeps the various stakeholders tied to the venue from having to defend their choice to stage the card.

Moreover, Justin Gaethje is a rock-solid performer and was due to headline a main event PPV card. The 31-year-old American has three straight finishes over Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and James Vick. While it’s understandable why some fans and media are disappointed in Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson falling through for the fifth time, Ferguson vs. Gaethje is sure to be a violent encounter between two of the best lightweights in the world. It’s a fantastic matchup.

Finally, adding Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a massive win for the UFC. That huge heavyweight clash helps soften the blow of losing one of the main event attractions so close to the event taking place.

The worst changes made to UFC 249 are also easy to see.

Fans have long waited to see Nurmagomedov square off against Ferguson. That fight being shelved again means it might never happen now. After all, if Gaethje beats Ferguson at UFC 249 that would mean Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is no longer that important a fight, at least in the immediate future.

Moreover, it’s hard to tell what kind of full card lineup the UFC is going to be able to put together. If some of the massively huge fights that have been rumored can be added to UFC 249, that’s great. But it’s much more likely that UFC 249 will not be near as epic a card as it was when it was first announced a few months ago.

Whatever happens, though, Heavy has you covered with all the latest news and info about UFC 249.

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Twitter: @Kelsey_McCarson

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