UFC 249 may not be moving forward fully as planned, but UFC President Dana White has thus far followed through on his promise to put together a fight card which he intends to have take place on April 18.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had been slated to defend against Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn, N.Y., but COVID-19 concerns nixed that location. The pandemic restrictions also forced Nurmagomedov off of the fight card.
White didn't give up on the event, however, eventually finding a location where it could take place in the United States. He has yet to reveal where that location is. According to ESPN, not even the fighters or managers have been looped in on the location yet. It is believed to be somewhere along the West Coast of the U.S. and expected to serve as a de facto UFC home base for follow-up events beyond UFC 249 until operations able to return to some semblance of normalcy.
The revamped fight card has a new headliner. White revealed midday on Monday that Ferguson would now face fellow contender Justin Gaethje for an interim lightweight championship on April 18.
Monday evening, the rest of the UFC 249 fight card was released, including bouts such as the rematch between former strawweight champions Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas, Francis Ngannou vs. Jair Rozenstruik, Jacare Souza vs. Uriah Hall, and several other bouts.
In all, the UFC 249 fight card currently has a slate of 12 bouts, and is still expected to be a Pay-Per-View offering via the ESPN+ app.
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje full fight card
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje*
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Francis Ngannou vs. Jair Rozenstruik
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro
Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Morales
Marlon Vera vs. Ray Borg
Khama Worthy vs. Michael Johnson
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey
*For the interim UFC lightweight championship