Justin Gaethje put on the performance of a lifetime at UFC 249 completely destroying Tony Ferguson in what turned out to be one of the most violent fights in the promotion's history. Mixing up his trademark power punches with crunching leg kicks, the 31-year old was able to break Ferguson down over five rounds before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight in the final stanza.
Anticipation was high for their main event battle, especially considering both men have made their careers on having exciting, yet brutal performances inside the Octagon. It was competitive at the start, with Gaethje landing some devastating left hooks and Ferguson firing back with powerful, stinging jabs.
The first big moment belonged to El Cucuy, as he landed a vicious uppercut at the end of the second round that had Gaethje on wobbly legs. Although it seemed like the end was nigh for the 31-year old, he managed to compose himself and rip the fight out of Ferguson's grasp in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. The leg kicks Gaethje landed earlier began to pay dividends, as it allowed him to pick Ferguson apart with punches the later on in the fight.
The battle came to an end following a jab that clearly stunned Ferguson, sending him backwards towards the cage. Gaethje tried to follow-up with more strikes, but Herb Dean jumped in to save him from more damage.
UFC bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo, successfully defended his title against former longtime titleholder, Dominick Cruz, following a pinpoint accurate knee and a number of unanswered follow-up punches. However, his win will be overshadowed by the shock announcement that he's retiring from MMA competition.
The two top 135lbers were extremely competitive at first, with both men taking their time to figure out each other's timing However, Cejudo was the first of the two to implement his gameplan, landing leg kicks to try and shutdown Cruz's famous footwork. While ducking under for a shot, Cruz's head was met by Cejudo's knee, sending him falling backwards. The former champion tried to get up, but Cejudo punched away with an impressive barrage of strikes to end the fight.
While being interviewed by Joe Rogan inside the Octagon, the 33-year old announced his retirement, stating that he'd been competing for an extremely long and wanted to begin a family with his girlfriend. He finishes his career with a 16-2 record along with two titles from two different weight classes.
The heavyweight battle between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik went exactly as fans as hoped as the two knockout artists swung for the fences from the very beginning of their 20 second fight. While both men were throwing fight-ending punches at the same time, Ngannou's left hook was the first to land and left his opponent unconscious against the cage
Justin Gaethje defeats Tony Ferguson via TKO (Round 5, 3:39)
Henry Cejudo defeats Dominick Cruz via TKO (Round 2, 4:58)
Francis Ngannou defeats Jairzinho Rozenstruik via KO (Round 1, 0:20)
Calvin Kattar defeats Jeremy Stephens via TKO (Round 2, 2:42)
Greg Hardy defeats Yorgan de Castro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
ESPN Preliminary Card
Anthony Pettis defeats Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision (29-28.29-28.29-28)
Aleksei Oleinik defeats Fabricio Werdum via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)