Top-tier live sport controversially returns from lockdown and back onto TV screens this weekend, with a long-awaited lightweight MMA clash between Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje in Florida – read on to find out how to live stream UFC 249 no matter where in the world you are.
What's so exciting about the return of UFC this weekend? Where do you start? As well as being the first international sporting event to take place following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the stacked bill boasts a crucial lightweight interim title fight as its main event – a division that features some of the sport's biggest draws.
That headline act sees Tony Ferguson finally take on Justin Gaethje, just weeks after after the pair were left disappointed after the plug was pulled on UFC head honcho Dana White's first attempt at staging the fight by ESPN bosses.
But there's plenty more to enjoy besides. Read on to discover all you need to know about UFC 249 or, if you just want to know where to watch the event from your corner of the globe, head straight on over to our UFC 249 live stream info page.
Who are Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje?
In a sport of big characters, Mexican-American fighter Tony Ferguson is one of UFC's most eccentric. A noted fan of magic and breakdancing, the number 1 ranked lightweight contender first made his name on UFC reality show The Contender, winning every fight via KO or TKO during his appearance on season 13 of the show. He has since gone on to chalk up one of the best records across all divisions and is unbeaten in seven years.
Known for possessing a hugely effective brawler-style approach on his feet, Justin Gaethje comes into the bout off the back of a formidable wining streak of his own, with three consecutive 1st round KO/TKOs to his name.
Who is the favorite to win the Ferguson vs Gaethje fight?
Bookies currently mark out Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson as the 4/7 favorite to win the fight outright with Betfair in the UK (correct at the time of writing). Ferguson will enter the Octagon riding a 12-fight winning streak, and has not experienced defeat since 2012, with oddsmakers favoring his unpredictable approach over the more orthodox stand up style of his opponent.
When did Ferguson and Gaethje last step into the ring?
Ferguson last entered the Octagon almost a year ago with a one-sided victory via a doctor's stoppage against Donald Ceronne at UFC 238.
Gaethje has been the far more active fighter of the two over the past few years with his last fight also against Cerrone at Fight Night 158 in Vancouver back in September the third successive fight that the American fighter has notched up a first round stoppage.
What are the other highlights from UFC 249?
The bumper card has two prelim fights that would in normal circumstance grace the main card.
While there won't be any audience in attendance to create a regular electric UFC atmosphere, a tasty looking welterweight clash between former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (22-10) and Donald Cerrone (36-14) should get pulses racing early doors for those viewing at home, while a heavyweight bout between “Boa Constrictor” submission king Aleksei Oleinik (58-13-1) and Brazilian former champ Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1) who will be making his return after two years out is also highly anticipated.
Meanwhile the night's main supporting fight sees bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo put his belt on the line against all-round MMA legend Dominick Cruz. The fight marks Cruz's first bout in more than three years after Cejudo's intended UFC 250 showdown with Jose Aldo in Brazil was nixed by the pandemic.
How to watch UFC 249 online in the US exclusively on ESPN
What does a UFC fan receive with their ESPN+ subscription?
Much like the rest of the sporting world, the UFC has been quiet in recent weeks – but with the show now back on the road a subscription to ESPN+ opens up access to exclusive live UFC Fight Nights, alongside original content including Dana White’s Contender Series, UFC Destined, and Ariel & The Bad Guy, plus classic fights, replays, and there’s also the perk of fewer adverts.
The UFC 249 card in full:
· Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje (interim UFC Lightweight Championship)
· Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
· Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozentruik (heavyweight)
· Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar (featherweight)
· Greg Hardy vs Yorgan de Castro (heavyweight)
· Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis (welterweight)
· Alexey Oleynik vs Fabricio Werdum (heavyweight)
· Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson (women's strawweight)
· Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Souza (middleweight)
· Vicente Luque vs Niko Price (welterweight)
· Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa (featherweight)
· Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey (light heavyweight)