Not only is UFC 249 slated to remain on April 18th despite the coronavirus pandemic, it’ll be your typical pay-per-view.
As confirmed on Monday, Tony Ferguson and short notice replacement Justin Gaethje will headline the event, with the interim lightweight title at stake. Reigning champ Khabib Nurmagomedov was supposed to fight Ferguson, but he’s stuck in Russia and the Ferguson matchup has been nixed for the billionth time.
The co-main event between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade is unchanged, with major title implications at stake for the two former strawweight champions.
New bouts added to the lineup include Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price (UFC Portland), Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro (UFC Columbus), Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC Columbus), Ray Borg vs. Marlon Vera (at bantamweight), Khama Worthy vs. Michael Johnson, Alex Hernandez vs. Omar Antonio Morales (who is replacing Islam Makhachev), and Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey.
It’s a genuinely good card that has a lot of compelling fights. The issue, of course, is fighter safety (and the safety of others) given how highly contagious coronavirus is, as well as the likelihood that at least a few fighters will require hospitalization at a time when hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Oh yes, and if you are an ESPN+ subscriber or just want to purchase the PPV, the price is unchanged. That’ll be $65.
Broadcast details and bout order are not yet confirmed — if Hardy vs. De Castro is on the main card then that would be something — but we’ll update you when that’s all worked out. Again, no venue has been announced as of yet either. We may never get the official announcement if Dana White wants to be that tight-lipped with the media.
Here’s the full lineup:
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Uriah Hall vs. Jacare Souza
Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Antonio Morrales
Ray Borg vs. Marlon Vera
Khama Worthy vs. Michael Johnson
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey