UFC 249 appears to have suffered another major blow on Wednesday when it was revealed that former women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas was forced out of her co-main event rematch against Jessica Andrade.
Now, UFC president Dana White and other top officials have yet another huge part of the PPV card to sort out on short notice. UFC 249 is scheduled for April 18. The event will be televised in the U.S. exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view. The main event features Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, though Gaethje was a late-replacement for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after the Russian was forced out of his title defense due to the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on international travel.
MMA Fighting suggests Andrade could still be on the card, but that her appearance at UFC 249 will depend on whether the UFC can find her a suitable replacement opponent:
With Namajunas out, Andrade will now wait to find out if the UFC can secure her a last-minute opponent for the card. Andrade and her team had already traveled from Brazil to the United States to avoid any possible restrictions that could come as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Andrade vs. Namajunas 2 was supposed to serve as a rematch from their first meeting when Andrade defeated Namajunas for the women’s strawweight championship at UFC 237 in May 2019. Her surprising slam knockout of Namajunas shocked the world in the second round and earned her the stunning win.
But Andrade subsequently lost her title to current champion Zhang Weili three months later and was probably hoping that facing Namajunas again could help her get back on track.
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UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Full Card Line-up
Assuming Namajunas is out of UFC 249 as reported by Combate and MMA Fighting, the updated full card lineup for the UFC’s next big PPV event would be as follows.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Jessica Andrade vs. TBD
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
Regardless, considering the UFC has essentially been trying to piece together the 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that is normally putting on a combat sports event of this magnitude, but doing so with the added restraint of having to do it in the completely dark room of the COVID-19 outbreak, UFC 249 is still shaping up to be a solid card.