Justin Gaethje Annoys Tony Ferguson For Interim Lightweight Title

Justin Gaethje Annoys Tony Ferguson For Interim Lightweight Title
Justin Gaethje Annoys Tony Ferguson For Interim Lightweight Title

After Tony Ferguson's scheduled fight for UFC 249 with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov collapsed, fans received the ultimate consolation prize - an interim title fight between Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Gaethje took the opportunity by hitting Ferguson in five rounds of action before scoring a late TKO to clinch a champion belt at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

The two men started the first round with a cautious approach before Gaethje (22-2) started throwing massive, flying punches between heavy kicks. Never once has he backed down from a fight, Ferguson (25-4) started to fight back with an almost mirrored attack, although it was Ferguson's chin that got the most evidence early in the fight.

Gaethje's left hook continued to land with a significant impact in the second round, but he followed the plan with sharp kicks to prevent Ferguson from reaching a comfortable pace. Ferguson increased his attacking performance in the second round stretch to be interrupted again by Gaethje's kicks and punches. In the final seconds of the lap, Ferguson dropped Gaethje with a huge punch that could have ended the fight if Gaethje hadn't been saved by the bell.

Gaethje recovered from disassembly and made his way to the third round, landing stronger and sharp shots through Ferguson, causing significant swelling around his left eye. Yet Ferguson's relentless march continued, sporadically landing among Gaethje's massive bombs.

In Round 4, Ferguson's stone jaw finally started to break. For the first time, Ferguson's legs buckled behind another Gaethje's right hand. Moments later, Ferguson was back in front of Gaethje, digging in the body and throwing left hooks at the head. All the while, Gaethje's relentless attack on the leg continued to wreak havoc on Ferguson.

The brutality did not stop in the final round, Gaethje hitting Ferguson and sending him tripping over and over. After nearly five full rounds of absolute domination, a blow from Gaethje made Ferguson shake his head and stumble backwards with arms and legs that seemed to betray him. Referee Herb Dean intervened to stop the bout at 3:39 in Round 5.

By winning the fight, Gaethje took his current winning streak to four and perhaps put the last nail in the coffin of a clash between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, a fight the UFC has tried to book five times.

"I'm waiting for the real one," said Gaethje after removing his provisional belt and putting it aside. "I knew I was a murderer when I entered here. I am a good brother. There is no better drug on earth than the adrenaline flowing through my veins."

"I have a world class coach. I had to lose to change. You can't fix what's broken. Once I figured out what was wrong, I was hit too hard and I was having too much fun. The two times I lost, I was having too much fun At this level, you can't do that. "

Ferguson has had a 12-game winning streak. The streak dates back to 2013 and included a brief season as an acting champion. It remains to be seen where he is going after being drawn and fighting for the title.

Gaethje will likely have a chance at Nurmagomedov later, but he's still trying to live in the moment of what he accomplished on Saturday night.

"I didn't have time to soak up. I can't wait to see the fight, I was so good tonight. I really believed in my skills and my coaches and how much I had it. C 'was a big challenge and I'm very happy At the moment, I can't wait to go home and see my family, "said Gaethje. "I know how much happiness I have just given people and it feels good. I have no expectations when I go, I'm just my best and I was good tonight. My time is incredible, my coaches were amazing and I was amazing tonight. " This is what I was born, I was raised to do. You have a life and I live crazy and it's so amazing. I can't wait for this challenge, win or lose, I'm going to give 100% and have a good time. "

CBS Sports was with you all night to present the results and analysis of UFC 249 in Jacksonville.

UFC 249 card and results

Justin Gaethje (ic) beats. Tony Ferguson via TKO fifth round (punches)
Henry Cejudo (c) def. Dominick Cruz via TKO in the second round (punches)
Francis Ngannou beats. Jair Rozenstruik via the first round TKO (punches)
Calvin Kattar beats. Jeremy Stephens by knockout in the second round (elbow)
Greg Hardy beats. Yorgan de Castro by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Anthony Pettis beats. Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Aleksei Oleinik beats. Fabricio Werdum by shared decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Carla Esparza beats. Michelle Waterson by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
Vicente Luque beats. Niko Price via TKO third round (medical stop)
Bryce Mitchell beats. Charles Rosa by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)
Ryan Spann beat. Sam Alvey by shared decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

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