UFC 249 Results: Justin Gaethje, Francis Ngannou Headline Top Main Card Winners

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 09: (L-R) Opponents Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje face off prior to their UFC interim lightweight championship fight during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Justin Gaethje walked away the biggest winner of UFC 249 with a stunning fifth-round TKO win over Tony Ferguson to capture the interim lightweight championship in the main event. 

The highly anticipated interim title fight promised fireworks and didn't disappoint. Gaethje continued his new measured approach while still channeling the violence that has made him a fan favorite. He remained the aggressor against one of the most dangerous fighters in his division, El Cucuy. 

UFC @ufc

👊💥😱 How is Ferguson still standing after this massive right from @Justin_Gaethje?! #UFC249 https://t.co/Ow1Qdb3cNQ

Ferguson responded in kind with counterstrikes of his own, but it was Gaethje who had the upper hand. The gulf between the two widened as the fight went on. While most of Ferguson's opponents lose steam as the fight goes on, the new interim champ kept pouring on the pressure and forced Herb Dean to call an end to the fight. 

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Exhausted. Final round. Somehow he just eats these... @TonyFergusonXT is not human 😧 #UFC249 https://t.co/zgkSQXZ9W5

The win brings Ferguson's 12-fight winning streak to a screeching halt and sets him up with an eventual matchup against the reigning champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

After putting on this performance, there's no doubt that will be a fight that draws major interest. Here's a look at the rest of the big winners from the UFC's big return to action in Jacksonville, Florida. 


Main Card Results

  • Justin Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson via TKO at 3:39 of Round 5

  • Henry Cejudo defeated Dominick Cruz via TKO at 4:58 of Round 2
  • Francis Ngannou defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik via KO at 0:20 of Round 1
  • Calvin Kattar defeated Jeremy Stephens via TKO at 2:49 of Round 2
  • Greg Hardy defeated Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision (30-27)


Prelims Results

  • Anthony Pettis defeated Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
  • Aleksei Oleink defeated Fabricio Werdum via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
  • Carla Esparza defeated Michelle Waterson via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 27-30)
  • Vicente Luque defeated Niko Price via TKO at 3:37 of Round 3
  • Bryce Mitchell defeated Charles Rosa via unanimous decision (30-25 x 2, 30-24)
  • Ryan Span defeated Sam Alvey via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)


Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz

After more than three years away from The Octagon, one of the burning questions heading into the event was if Dominick Cruz could still fight at a high level. 

The answer was yes, but not high enough to beat Henry Cejudo. Triple C successfully defended his bantamweight championship with a second-round TKO win over Cruz in the co-main event. However, the former champion got his punches in during several of the exchanges before the final blows:

UFC @ufc

He's still got it! 👏 Ring rust not a factor thus far for the returning @DominickCruz. #UFC249 https://t.co/vTkDCCdXIY

The fight was competitive, with both fighters scoring in the exchanges before a knee from Cejudo put Cruz in deep trouble. Cejudo followed up with strikes on the ground and landed several unanswered shots, but the former champion was working toward standing up when the referee called the fight. 

Cruz was disappointed by the decision to call the fight.

Bloody Elbow @BloodyElbow

"I specifically asked the ref to let me go until I was out." - Dominick Cruz on the stoppage. #UFC249

However, it was Cejudo who dropped a bombshell after the bout. The two-division champion announced his retirement in the post-fight interview. 

MMAFighting.com @MMAFighting

Cejudo: I'm happy with my career. I've done enough in the sport, I want to walk away, I want to enjoy myself. ... Since I was 11 years old I sacrificed my whole life to get where I'm at today, I'm not gonna let nobody take that from me.

If Cejudo really is walking away from the sport, he does so with one of the best resumes of all time. He is one of the few fighters to hold championships in two different divisions and pairs that with an Olympic gold medal. 


Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Francis Ngannou once again did his best Ivan Drago impersonation with another absolutely dominant knockout over Jairzinho Rozenstruik. 

The undefeated Suriname fighter was hoping to join Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis as the only fighters to beat The Predator, but those hopes were dashed in 20 seconds. Once Ngannou got his hands on him, it was the beginning of the end. All told, he took about four left hooks when one would have sufficed. 

The win is the fourth consecutive first-round knockout for the former title challenger. He has now dispatched of Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Rozenstruik, with each win coming under one minute and 15 seconds. 

The Predator was thoroughly defeated by Miocic in their title fight in 2018. He followed it up with a lackluster performance against Derrick Lewis, but it's getting harder to deny he's in line for a title shot. 

Former champion Daniel Cormier's reaction to the knockout says it all:

UFC @ufc

DC knows. 😳 @DC_MMA #UFC249 https://t.co/wDm0qKUPog

It's time for Ngannou to fight the winner of DC/Miocic, if that fight even happens. 


Calvin Kattar vs. Jeremy Stephens

Calvin Kattar was looking for a breakout performance at UFC 249, and in the first round, it didn't look like it was going happen. 

Jeremy Stephens played the role of cagey veteran to a tee. He lit up Kattar on the feet in the first round and rocked the 32-year-old. However, it was just a setup for great adjustments in the second round. He started to figure out his opponent by the end of the first.

ESPN @espn

The right hand stunned him 😵 Stream #UFC249 on ESPN+ ▶️ https://t.co/uIC7AqOEfU https://t.co/CfIKdQYPuS

Kattar showcased his ability to make adjustments on the fly and started landing with regularity in the second round. A beautiful step-in elbow floored him, and the follow-up strikes on the ground left him bloody and defeated. 

The win was big for Kattar, as a loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov had lowered his stock some. But with a win over Stephens, he's right back into his role as a rising threat in the featherweight division.


Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro

The Greg Hardy experiment took another interesting step forward as the former All-Pro defensive end earned a unanimous-decision win over Yorgan De Castro to kick off the main card. 

De Castro made life difficult for Hardy in the first round. Several leg kicks went unchecked, and he responded to Hardy's attempt to close the distance with heavy leather at every turn. 

That game plan had an expiration date for De Castro, though. His offensive output slowed considerably as the fight went along, and Hardy showed the cardio to go the distance. 

Overall, it was an interesting performance from the former Carolina Panthers star. Hardy showed growth in his defense and even adapted to the leg kicks that plagued him in the first round. He even showed better cardio than most heavyweights. 

However, he did very little to make De Castro pay in terms of actual damage. The end result of picking up a win is important for his development, but it was a performance that left his offensive firepower in question.