Justin Gaethje was crowned the interim UFC Lightweight Champion on Saturday after finishing Tony Ferguson with strikes. The finish came in the fifth round after four rounds of Gaethje out-striking Ferguson.
The win was the main event of UFC 249 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. The event was held without a crowd due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I knew I was a killer stepping in here,” said Gathje after the fight.
Gaethje extends his winning streak to four with this win, with his three previous wins being first-round stoppages.
Ferguson took numerous head punches and leg kicks, often not reacting to the shots. In the later rounds of the fight he started to be more wobbled by strikes, with his visible damage causing the end of the fight.
“We’ve been preparing since November,” said Ferguson in his post-fight interview.
The main event was first scheduled for April 18th, with the event being postponed after UFC received a call from Disney telling them not to hold it.
The previous opponent for Ferguson was meant to be Khabib Nurmagomedov, who could not make it to the United States due to travel issues.
“To be a good parent you have to lead by example,” said Gaethje, shouting out his parents on the eve of Mother’s Day.
In the co-main event of the show, Henry Cejudo announced retirement from MMA after stopping Dominick Cruz in the second round, retaining the UFC Bantamweight Championship.