May 2, 2020

Ferguson vs Gaethje UFC 249 fight: predictions and best bets


We’ve been through a lot in the past few months and I feel like we deserved UFC’s historic event UFC 249. Historic because it will be held while all major sports in the world are shut down because of the global pandemic.

I don’t know how Dana White pulled this off but UFC 249 is really happening and it will take place on May 9th at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Khabib vs Ferguson bout was canceled for the 5th time which is a huge disappointment for all of us but what are you going to do. It’s not necessarily Khabib’s fault. As a champion, he has a lot more to lose and I don’t blame him for pulling out considering the situation in the world at that particular moment. Who knows – it might just be one of those fights that are not meant to happen.

Either way, we’ve got another great matchup as UFC 249 main event. I am absolutely thrilled about the upcoming fight for the UFC Lightweight interim title between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

In this post, I would like to breakdown this matchup, give my predictions and suggest the best betting tips for Ferguson vs Gaethje bout if you are considering placing bets on UFC 249 fights.

Let’s roll!

Can Justin Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson as a +150 underdog?
Justin Gaethje is a +150 underdog in the upcoming fight against Tony Ferguson.

Betting odds for Ferguson vs Gaethje

Tony Ferguson -180 or 1.56.

Justin Gaethje +150 or 2.5.

Unsurprisingly, Tony Ferguson is a betting favorite in this upcoming bout against “The Highlight”. There are multiple reasons why “El Cucuy” is a favorite to beat Gaethje according to bookmakers.

  • Ferguson is generally a more well-known fighter than Gaethje and he has been at the top of the lightweight division for a very long time.
  • Tony is the type of guy who is riding a 12-fight UFC winning streak. Ferguson is unbeatable since his loss to Michael Johnson way back in 2012. Since then, he has wins over Edson Barboza (when he was on the rise), Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, and Anthony Pettis among others. What are the chances that Justin Gaethje will be the one to stop Tony Ferguson’s incredible streak?
  • Ferguson has been in training camp for the past 4-5 months preparing to fight his longtime rival Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 18th. Justin Gaethje was announced as a replacement for Nurmagomedov at the beginning of April which means he will have a little bit over a month to prepare for a 5-rounder with “El Cucuy”.

Basically, those are the main reasons why bookmakers are leaning towards Tony Ferguson as a favorite to win against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.

Predictions for Ferguson vs Gaethje fight at UFC 249

Rather than looking at this matchup on paper (according to which Ferguson should dominate Gaethje) let’s dig a little deeper and analyze this stylistic matchup.

First of all, I want to mention one very important fact which can potentially play a big impact on the outcome of this fight. As I mentioned earlier, Tony was in a camp for a very long time unlike Justin, which is supposedly an advantage for Ferguson.

But keep in mind that “El Cucuy” wanted to make a statement and he actually did a full weight cut on April 18th as he would have done if the fight with Khabib was on. He cut well over 20 lbs to make 155 lbs championship weight just a few weeks ago.

I believe this basically evens out Gaethje and Ferguson’s training and conditioning. At the very least, Tony went through unnecessary stress on his body and lost time. Also, don’t forget that “El Cucuy” is a veteran of the fight game, he is already in his mid-30’s.

This situation kind of reminds me of Deontay Wilder’s walkout for the boxing match with Tyson Fury. Just like Wilder’s stupid decision to walkout in a 40-pound costume had its consequences, Tony Ferguson cutting 24 pounds three weeks before a fight will have a negative effect on his performance as well. It’s like he gave favor to Gaethje to make up to him for accepting a fight on short notice.

Meanwhile, “The Highlight” has been training hard for the most important fight of his entire career. In fact, he has been sparring with Beneil Dariush and Kamaru Usman to prepare for “El Cucuy” which I find very interesting. Dariush stylistically very similar to Tony and Usman is the guy that can pressure and put the pace on Justin just like Ferguson does against most opponents.

Justin Gaethje sparring with Beneil Dariush and Kamaru Usman to prepare for Tony Ferguson
Justin Gaethje sparring with Beneil Dariush and Kamaru Usman to prepare for a fight with Tony Ferguson.

So how will a fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje play out?

This is going to be a close fight and I am not expecting it to end in the first rounds. I can see this fight go into the 3rd or 4th round similar to Gaethje’s fights against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.

Justin Gaethje is a more serious threat than Ferguson’s last two opponents Pettis and Cowboy. Gaethje likes to bang and go into wild exchanges while pressuring his opponents. Just like Justin, Tony usually marches forward and puts pressure on his opponents.

I’m curious to see who will be the one to attack from the start and who will be counter punching. I can see Gaethje letting Tony take the center of the Octagon in the first few minutes and I believe he can successfully counter-strike against “El Cucuy”.

Overall, I would say Gaethje is a stronger striker than Ferguson and he should have an advantage if this fight will turn into something like Usman vs Covington war (which basically is a scenario for most Gaethje’s fights). Tony’s stand-up is okay but I don’t see him doing as much damage on the feet as Alvarez and Poirier did to Justin. Don’t take me wrong – Ferguson will be landing more shots and he will make “The Highlight” bleed but in most exchanges Gaethje will land more significant and damaging shots.

Something else that I feel like can be an X-Factor in this matchup are Justin Gaethje’s leg kicks. Don’t forget that Tony suffered a very serious knee injury in April of 2018. It’s been two years since then but it is definitely a possibility that Gaethje will be targeting Ferguson’s knees.

Speaking of Tony Ferguson, his path to the victory against Justin Gaethje would be to get through the first 2 rounds, tire him up, and capitalize on it in later rounds. Ferguson has phenomenal cardio and it is one of his greatest strengths.

Tony Ferguson is a betting favorite to beat Justin Gaethje
Tony Ferguson is a -180 betting favorite to beat Justin Gaethje.

Who should I bet on UFC 249 Ferguson vs Gaethje fight?

Realistically, it is a 50/50 fight which is the reason why I am personally not interested in betting on Tony Ferguson. It’s just not worth the risk at -180 (1.56) odds when he is facing a very dangerous opponent in the likes of Justin Gaethje.

I do like to bet on Gaethje in this one as I think that stylistically Tony is a good matchup for him. Even if Justin won’t get a finish in the first two rounds, he can do a lot of damage to Ferguson which will play an effect later on.

Gaethje suffered losses in later rounds against Alvarez and Poirier but those were very competitive fights. I believe Justin had a chance to finish those fights in his favor. With some tactical adjustments and improvements, he has technical abilities, skillset, and good enough cardio to beat Tony Ferguson.

Best bets for Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje fight

  • Fight will go over 2.5 rounds +100 (2)

Both Ferguson and Gaethje can take a lot of damage and they are tough as nails. I don’t see their war end within the first two rounds as they’ll want to make it as entertaining as possible.

  • Justin Gaethje to win +150 (2.5)

As I mentioned earlier, I see this as a 50/50 fight that’s why Justin Gaethje as an underdog at +150 looks like a very attractive bet to me.

  • Justin Gaethje wins by decision +900 (10)

This is definitely a long shot but it’s not like it is unrealistic. Gaethje and Ferguson have solid chins, they can “eat” a lot of shots and quickly recover if needed. On top of it, Tony Ferguson has never been KO’d in his professional MMA career. But please, don’t bet your house on it 🙂

What do you think about the upcoming UFC 249 event? Are you pumped for a stacked card? What are your predictions for Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje bout and other fights at UFC 249? Who should we bet on?

Please share your opinion and predictions in the comments below this post!

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