U.F.C. 249 Live Results: Hardy Outworks De Castro

Written by on May 9, 2020

PictureAnthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone in their featured preliminary fight at U.F.C. 249. They fought with no fans in attendance.
Credit score…John Raoux/Related Press

Right here’s what that you must know:

Greg Hardy was clearly the higher athlete. The previous All-Professional defensive lineman is long-limbed and limber, and faster than Yorgan De Castro, his opponent within the heavyweight bout that opened the pay-per-view portion of U.F.C. 249.

However within the first spherical De Castro, a Cape Verde native now preventing out of Brocton, Mass., seemed to be the superior fighter, touchdown a number of sharp proper palms to Hardy’s head, and sequence of chopping kicks to Hardy’s left thigh.

Then an obvious toe harm slowed De Castro halfway via Spherical 2, permitting the 31-year-old Hardy to grab the initiative.

Afterward, Hardy stated he blocked De Castro’s leg kick when he heard commentator Daniel Cormier recommend it at ringside. In an empty area, the fighters can hear the broadcasters’ each phrase, and Hardy credited Cormier’s commentary with turning the battle in his favor.

Hardy (5-2, 1 no contest) recorded his first win of 2020, after competing 5 instances in 2019.

The absence of a crowd isn’t simply affecting how viewers at residence expertise the presentation of the bouts, it’s affecting the end result of the fights themselves. With out 15,000 screaming followers, the fighters can truly listening to the commentary from tv announcers Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, who’re seated simply outdoors the octagon.

After he received by way of a health care provider’s stoppage, Vicente Luque said he may hear Rogan calling for his opponent to choke him. Carla Esparza stated that not solely may she may hear Cormier, however that she truly took recommendation from his commentary and adjusted her ways. Maybe it labored: She received by way of break up choice.

Because the pay-per-view card started, Cormier and Rogan leaned into the weirdness of the occasion, which is beneath scrutiny as the primary main U.S. sporting occasion for the reason that coronavirus pandemic shut down the highest leagues.

“I don’t perceive why we’re so far-off from one another however we’re so shut proper now. None of this makes any sense,” Rogan stated throughout a dialog with Anik and Cormier as they stood in the identical shot earlier than transferring again to their seats at separate tables.

Donald Cerrone landed a proper kick to Anthony Pettis’s face. He knocked Matt Brown unconscious with the same shot in 2016, however Pettis took it and stored preventing. Pettis had managed a lot of Spherical Three till then, however Cerrone’s thunderous proper kick tilted the momentum his means.

For however a second.

Total, the judges favored Pettis, awarding him the bout 29-28 on all three playing cards.

Yet one more shut spherical. Donald Cerrone accomplished one other takedown. Anthony Pettis landed heavy blows to Cerrone’s physique — a left hook and a spinning again kick.

Any individual has to win.

These two fighters are 0-5 mixed of their most up-to-date fights.

Donald Cerrone completed the primary spherical in opposition to Anthony Pettis with swelling on his face, however not less than he completed the primary spherical.

Cerrone, who is best often known as Cowboy, has misplaced his final three bouts, and was stopped within the first spherical of his earlier two. He and Pettis competed evenly in Spherical 1, with Cerrone touchdown a takedown, and Pettis connecting with a number of clear punches.

Credit score…Jasen Vinlove/USA Right now Sports activities, by way of Reuters

As heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik pressed ahead within the opening spherical, his cornermen shouted for him to hit Fabricio Werdum’s physique.

Appeared like a good suggestion.

Werdum entered the octagon with the sloping shoulders and fleshy midsection of a middle-aged dad — he’ll flip 43 in July. Oleinik had trimmed some physique fats since his final U.F.C. battle almost 4 months in the past, however was truly the older of the 2 combatants by a month.

So whereas Oleinik dominated Spherical 1, by halfway via the second, the bout seemed precisely like a matchup between fighters whose mixed age was 84. The tempo of Oleinik’s assault slowed. Werdum managed to land a number of punches, and wrestled Oleinik to the mat. They traded blows within the remaining spherical and the ultimate buzzer sounded with no decisive winner.

In the long run, two judges favored Oleinik’s energy punching, awarding him a break up choice. The win marked Oleinik’s 59th victory in 73 professional bouts. Werdum, a former U.F.C. heavyweight champion, dropped to 23-8-1.

Credit score…Jasen Vinlove/USA Right now Sports activities, by way of Reuters

Strawweight contenders Carla Esparza and Michelle Waterson spent two-and-a-half rounds in a tense, tactical, tightly contested chess match.

Then a battle erupted within the remaining 30 seconds.

Waterson, a karate knowledgeable preventing out of Albuquerque, N.M., landed a left roundhouse kick to Esparza’s physique. Esparza absorbed the blow however trapped Waterson’s leg and tried to tug her to the mat, the place Esparza’s expertise as a school wrestler would give her a bonus. Waterson escaped and Esparza landed a left-right mixture. Esparza stored pursuing and Waterson swatted her throughout the face with a left roundhouse kick.

In a bout with no clear winner, the opinions among the many judges have been divided. One scored all three rounds for Esparza, whereas one other awarded all three to Waterson. Esparza (16-6) prevailed on the third choose’s card to win her third straight U.F.C. bout.

Credit score…Jasen Vinlove/USA Right now Sports activities, by way of Reuters

Niko Worth’s physique didn’t give out, even after almost three rounds of buying and selling punches and kicks at midrange close to the middle of the octagon. And his preventing spirit didn’t break, whilst blood streamed from a reduce beneath his proper eye and dripped from one other reduce above it.

However after welterweight Vicente Luque landed a wonderfully timed counter left hook late in Spherical 3, Worth hit the canvas. When the referee known as timeout, the battle physician checked out Worth’s rapidly swelling proper eye, and the 2 cuts close to it, and suggested the referee to cease the bout.

Till then, Luque and Worth had engaged in a brutal bout that resembled bare-knuckled kickboxing. Luque landed an enormous proper hand over Worth’s lazy left jab. Worth linked with a entrance kick to Luque’s chin. Each fighters landed thudding kicks to one another’s thighs.

Luque seemed drained late in Spherical 2, however within the late phases of the third landed the explosive left hook that ended the battle. The win was the 18th of Luque’s profession, whereas Worth drops to 14-4.

The information that fighter Ronaldo Souza, often known as Jacare, and two of his cornermen examined constructive for the coronavirus Friday night time drove residence how tough it’s to soundly maintain occasions throughout this pandemic. But when some other fighters have issues, you most likely is not going to hear about them, because the U.F.C. clamped down on criticism of its well being and security pointers.

U.F.C. 249 fighters may lose important quantities of cash in the event that they “recommend or talk” that the occasion is being held “with out acceptable well being, security or different precautions,” based on a replica of a participation settlement obtained by The New York Occasions. If fighters violate this provision, the U.F.C. might “revoke all or any a part of any prize monies or awards received by the Participant.” These can embrace “purses, win bonuses, different fight-related bonuses and event-based merchandise royalties.”

Requested for a touch upon the contract, a spokeswoman for the U.F.C. pointed to an interview Dana White did with Yahoo Sports, the place he stated that solely unfaithful statements concerning the U.F.C.’s well being and security procedures would violate the non-disparagement clause.

Nothing within the settlement obtained by The Occasions stated that solely unfaithful statements will be punished.

A shock visitor made an look early within the streaming portion of the telecast: President Trump.

A prerecorded video from the president was performed between the second and third fights of the night time. “I wish to congratulate Dana White and the U.F.C. They’re going to have an enormous match,” he stated, including: “Get the sports activities leagues again, let’s play. You do the social distancing and no matter else you must do, however we’d like sports activities. We would like our sports activities again.”

The friendship between President Trump and White dates again almost 20 years. The primary U.F.C. occasion after White took over the combined martial arts promotion firm, U.F.C. 30 in 2001, was held on the Trump Taj Mahal on line casino in Atlantic Metropolis. White praised President Trump for supporting the U.F.C. when many casinos and arenas wouldn’t host their fights, and he paid again the favor by talking in assist of then-candidate Trump on the 2016 Republican Nationwide Conference.

Credit score…Jasen Vinlove/USA Right now Sports activities, by way of Reuters

On Friday afternoon, the U.F.C. featherweight contender Bryce Mitchell posted a photograph of himself engaged in a post-weigh-in staredown together with his opponent, Charles Rosa.

“Time to cook dinner em to the bone,” the caption learn.

A day later Mitchell, a 25-year-old submission specialist, spent three rounds mauling Rosa, dragging him to the canvas and working him although an countless sequence of chokes, arm cranks and different holds designed to make opponents give up.

Rosa, a 33-year-old jiu-jitsu black belt, figured to problem Mitchell if their bout become a grappling match, however the third time Mitchell pretzeled himself round Rosa and yanked on his arm, it was clear which fighter was extra expert in preventing on the bottom.

Mitchell received on all three judges’ playing cards and is now 13-0, with 9 wins by submission. Rosa strikes to 12-Four general.

Credit score…Douglas P. Defelice/Getty Photographs

Ryan Spann completed the battle wobbly. Veteran light-heavyweight Sam Alvey hit him laborious a number of instances within the remaining spherical of the opening bout of U.F.C. 249, catching Spann with a brief proper hook, and later touchdown a flurry of blows earlier than the ultimate horn.

However Spann, a 28-year-old contender, had already received the primary two rounds, and emerged with a split-decision win.

A second-round kick to Alvey’s head drew a response from octagon-side announcers and sure would have triggered cheers from spectators. Besides Spann and Alvey met in a near-empty area, with followers prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their bout had the texture of an exhibition, with the venue so quiet the digital camera’s mics picked up directions from the fighters’ corners and even the athletes’ respiratory.

Spann used well-timed entrance kicks and proper palms to regulate the primary two rounds and improved his general professional report to 18-5. Saturday’s loss was Alvey’s fourth straight defeat.

Credit score…John Locher/Related Press

As televised reside sports activities floor to a halt in mid-March, sports activities channels turned to their archives and served up a heaping portion of basic video games. When there have been reside occasions to indicate — the W.N.B.A. and N.F.L. drafts, Korean baseball — the manufacturing is stripped down and no followers are in attendance. So what is going to U.F.C. 249 look and sound like on tv?

The sector the fights are happening in seats 15,000, however no followers are allowed, so count on to listen to a cavernous vacancy. Dana White told Sports Illustrated this week that he thought-about piping in crowd noise or some kind of digital crowd, earlier than deciding to not. The conventional in-arena D.J. will likely be on-site, nonetheless, and viewers will doubtless hear extra of the fighters themselves.

The announcers will likely be calling the fights from close to the octagon however will likely be sitting aside from one another. After every battle, Joe Rogan will interview the winners from not less than six toes away. The U.F.C. has not revealed its digital camera setup, however contemplating it has at all times managed manufacturing, it’s more likely to look similar to earlier occasions.

At first of its telecast, a standup shot included all three announcers — Jon Anik on play-by-play and analysts Rogan and Daniel Cormier — shut collectively and with out masks. They later appeared to talk from separate tables at totally different spots across the octagon.
”Individuals are ravenous. They’re ravenous for one thing, some motion, some enjoyable,” Rogan stated.

Dana White went from downplaying the chance from the coronavirus to acknowledging it whereas insisting that the U.F.C. could be the primary sport again. Why the push?

It’s not monetary, based on Mark Shapiro, the president of Endeavor, which owns the U.F.C. “We’re not placing fights on to fulfill any contracts or due to any specific monetary state of affairs at Endeavor,” Shapiro stated. Endeavor has $4.6 billion in debt, and has laid off, furloughed or reduce the pay of a 3rd of its 7,500 worldwide staff.

As an alternative, Shapiro and U.F.C. officers have stated their efforts are in service of the athletes, who don’t receives a commission except they carry out. “We’ve got fighters itching to battle, and which have contracts that require us to place them into an octagon,” Shapiro stated.

Credit score…Michael Reaves/Getty Photographs

Normally in early Might, the Final Combating Championship is competing with the N.B.A. and N.H.L. playoffs, a full slate of baseball video games and different large occasions just like the Kentucky Derby and boxing.

Not on Saturday night time, because the U.F.C. makes an attempt to stage fights amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.F.C. 249 is being held in Jacksonville, Fla., the place state authorities have deemed professional sports (and even skilled wrestling) an important enterprise. Athletic regulators there agreed to sanction combined martial arts bouts when different states, like New York and California, haven’t throughout the outbreak.

The occasion goes ahead despite the fact that one of many U.F.C.’s 24 fighters, Ronaldo Souza, and two of his cornermen examined constructive for the coronavirus Friday within the run-up to the battle. U.F.C. officers have been guarded about their measures to maintain fighters protected throughout three occasions deliberate — together with two subsequent week — however they insist they will reduce the dangers related to massive gatherings.

Souza, who was not exhibiting signs, advised the promotion firm when he arrived in Jacksonville on Wednesday that considered one of his family members may need had the virus, a U.F.C. govt advised ESPN, which is airing the preliminary bouts and promoting the pay-per-view card.

The headline battle is between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, an interim light-weight title bout that pits two combatants who’ve a historical past of thrilling knockouts.

The principle pay-per-view card on ESPN+ options 5 bouts, with Ferguson and Gaethje in the primary occasion. The complete checklist:

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, interim light-weight championship

  • Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz, bantamweight championship

  • Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, heavyweight

  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar, featherweight

  • Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro, heavyweight

There are six preliminary bouts:

  • Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone, welterweight

  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum, heavyweight

  • Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson, strawweight

  • Vicente Luque vs. Niko Worth, welterweight

  • Bryce Mitchell vs. Charles Rosa, featherweight

  • Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey, gentle heavyweight

Dana White has been president of the U.F.C. for nearly 20 years, a tenure that has seen combined martial arts rise from a distinct segment sport banned in lots of states to at least one minting worldwide superstars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. However after incomes lots of of tens of millions of {dollars}, why is he nonetheless working 24/7, and does the U.F.C. nonetheless want a bombastic avenue fighter as a frontrunner?

We profiled White and took a look on the rewards staging fights throughout the coronavirus pandemic may carry, in addition to authorized, business and regulatory threats to the U.F.C.’s enterprise.

The undefeated light-weight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was purported to headline this card with a title protection in opposition to Tony Ferguson. As an alternative, he’s in his native Dagestan, the Russian Republic, the place pandemic-related journey restrictions stop him from leaving.

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have now been scheduled to battle 5 totally different instances, with every bout canceled for progressively excessive causes — accidents, sickness and now a worldwide outbreak. Ferguson has accused Nurmagomedov of deliberately avoiding a U.F.C. 249 showdown, however the promotion firm’s president, Dana White, insists that the champion was prepared for this battle and easily obtained marooned in Dagestan, whereas the U.F.C. scrambled to discover a location and work out different logistics for Saturday’s card.

“The world was actually altering by the day,” White said in a recent interview with BT Sport. “We had all made some dangerous choices that obtained him caught in Moscow.” White added: “I take accountability for that, too. It occurred.”

For his half, Nurmagomedov awaits the winner of Saturday’s fundamental occasion, and says he will likely be ready to battle after Ramadan, which ends Might 23.

“It was the most effective coaching camp,” he wrote in a current Instagram publish, referring to his preparation for the Ferguson bout. “I haven’t felt myself that good for some time.”

He pledged to “come again even higher.”

Credit score…Steve Marcus/Getty Photographs

Conor McGregor, the U.F.C.’s largest pay-per-view attraction, has been at residence in Eire, the place he’ll watch Saturday’s card to measurement up future opponents and choose how the game is organized amid the pandemic.

He’s again within the octagon after greater than three years away from competitors, going through the bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo.

Cruz received 12 straight bouts between 2008 and 2016, a run that has prompted many observers to price him as the most effective bantamweight ever. However he additionally handled accidents and layoffs. After defeating Demetrious Johnson in October 2011, he didn’t battle once more till September 2014, when he knocked out Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz then missed all of 2015 earlier than preventing twice in 2016, his most up-to-date bout a unanimous choice loss to Cody Garbrandt.

Since then, Cruz has labored as an analyst on U.F.C. broadcasts, however he by no means retired. In prefight promotional movies, Cruz and the U.F.C. have been promoting the concept his time on the sidelines will make him a wiser fighter.

Cruz, now 34, made clear to reporters throughout a web based information convention on Thursday that he doesn’t consider in ring rust, the concept time away from competitors dulls a fighter’s abilities. As an alternative, he stated, he’s completely satisfied to be wholesome sufficient to compete and assured whilst he faces Cejudo.

“It creates a thankfulness for little issues,” Cruz stated Thursday. “I’m grateful to be on this place.”

At any time when Donald Cerrone fights, his grandmother Jerry Cerrone normally sits ringside. After Conor McGregor knocked out Cerrone in January, Jerry entered the octagon to console her grandson, who’s nicknamed Cowboy, and was herself consoled by a victorious McGregor. However when Cerrone packed up his R.V. to drive from New Mexico to Jacksonville, Fla., for Saturday’s fights, he left Jerry at residence.

Credit score…Mike Blake/Reuters

Not that he needed to. Cerrone advised reporters on Thursday that his grandmother had volunteered to make the drive with him, and that he needed her in Jacksonville throughout his battle in opposition to Anthony Pettis.

However, he stated, Dana White insisted that the 82-year-old Jerry Cerrone keep residence to restrict the variety of folks concerned with the occasion, and the chance of publicity to the coronavirus.

“I’m not going to be the man that will get Grandma sick,” Cerrone recalled White telling him.

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