White Insists UFC 249 is Still On
Almost every major sport has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Dana White has insisted UFC 249—and the lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson—will go ahead as planned.
The UFC published a statement late on Thursday confirming that while the event would no longer take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a location and venue will be decided in due course.
The Eagle is a -250 (1.40) favorite to seal a third successive title defence against Ferguson, who will finally get his shot at the Dagestani superstar after four failed attempts at staging this fight.
El Cucuy, 36, provides the value at odds of +195 (2.95) with Pointsbet promo code, but it seems likely the 25-3 challenger will meet his match—and then some—when he faces Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson has been billed as the unpredictable all-rounder with the means to potentially end Khabib’s undefeated 28-win streak, though it’s difficult to see anybody beating the latter on his day.
White recently spoke to TSN (via MMAFighting.com) and said: “Khabib and Tony is going to happen. We’re going to figure that out. We’re going to make it happen and then it’s just going to be a matter of how quickly we can get back to being normal.”
The UFC figurehead remained adamant that he will find a way to stage one of the most anticipated fights in modern mixed martial arts history, adding:
“We’re looking at a lot of different things. Listen, if you’re a fan, a media member, whatever you might be, do you want to bet against me? You want to bet that I can’t pull stuff off? At some point you stop doubting me I’d imagine but maybe not. We’ll see.”
Ferguson boasts a six-and-a-half reach advantage over Khabib, but keeping the range against one who wrestled against bears as a babe could be futile.
An early stoppage looks like Ferguson’s only plausible route to victory if he is to pull off the upset. He’s priced at +500 (6.00) to win by submission—the method used in five of his last nine wins—or a princely +800 (9.00) to finish Khabib via KO/TKO.
A Khabib win looks like the most realistic outcome, however. He’s five years Ferguson’s junior and enjoying the best form of his career, showcasing stellar standup to go along with his renowned ground game in recent bouts.
El Cucuy has been finished only once in his career—a submission loss to Jamie Toney under the National Fight Alliance MMA promotion in October 2009. The +200 (3.00) odds on Nurmagomedov to win via decision could be where the value is, having gone the distance six times in his 12 UFC fights.