JUSTIN GAETHJE stopped Tony Ferguson in brutal fashion to pick up the interim UFC lightweight title at UFC 249.
The show took place with no fans in attendance in Jacksonville, Florida and the main event ended in thrilling fashion with referee Herb Dean calling a halt to the proceedings as battered Ferguson took more punishment.
- Gaethje stopped Ferguson in the fifth-round
- Cejudo retired after his win over Cruz
- Ngannou won with devastating first-round K.O
- UFC also holding cards on May 13 and May 16 this week
Follow ALL of the latest reaction from a memorable card below…
Justin Gaethje takes the belt off Dana White, then promptly tosses it to one side, claiming he wants the real one!
So here's what has happened in the biggest fights tonight:
- Justin Gaethje is the new interim UFC lightweight champion after dominating Tony Ferguson, who is stopped in the fifth round
- Bantamweight Henry Cejudo beats Dominick Cruz to retain his title… then RETIRES
- Heavyweight Francis Ngannou decimates Jairzinho Rozenstruik inside 20 seconds
- Calvin Kattar brutally knocks out featherweight Jeremy Stephens
- Shamed NFL star Greg Hardy beats Yorgan de Castro
MORE THAN HUMAN
Dana is right, that was out of this world to stay on his feet as long as he did.
WONDER WHAT KHABIB THINKS
Ferguson: “It was a long camp and Jutsin is a tough son of a b****.
“I had spent a lot of time preparing for Khabib who is not as much of a striker.
“I would rather have been finished than stopped. Props to Justin, though, thanks for signing on the dotted line.
“I want to tell my kid and my wife and my family at home that I am OK.”
Gaethje gets the interim lightweight title belt with a TKO win over Tony Ferguson.
The warring pair end the night on good terms after an icy ending.
Gaethje, now 22-2, refuses the interim bout and says: “I am waiting for the real one.
“There is no better job on earth that this but it is each day at a time.
“I had to lose to change and once I understood I was getting hit too much I improved.
“I want to fight Khabib, there is no other fight I want right now.”
AND THE NEW…
Bruce Buffer calls this one for Justin Gaethje.
This is the moment the referee stepped in there to call it for Gaethje.
Herb Dean dived in to stop the one-sided action because Ferguson was too brave for his own good.
Ferguson swallowed a jab and shook his head, his legs were gone and he tried to run away before a second left hook landed.
Gaethje tried to shake hands with the man he just brutalised but Ferguson snubbed him.
El Cucuy can hardly see out of his right eye while Gaethje looks fresh as a daisy.
Gaethje must know he is coasting toward a points win to not rush in after that Ferguson wobble.
Ferguson is getting punched and shoved and kicked all over the octagon now.
DC and Rogan agree he might only have been able to claim the second round.
Two more vicious punches land on Ferguson's face and his only reaction is spitting up blood.
Ferguson is stopped on his feet – ruined, battered and wrecked.
Gaethje is in control of this one.
Gaethje looks like he has been in a fight but Ferguson looks like he has been in a car crash.
Blood is leaking from all over Ferguson's face and now his shins are spurting claret.
Gaethje is putting on a clinic and DC says this is the best version the UFC have ever seen.
Ferguson wobbled again by a one-two by Gaethje stays ice cool.
Justin Gaethje is still looking confident going into the final round.
Herb Dean stops the action after Ferguson accidentally kicks Gaethje in the groin.
The break is brief and Gaethje shows no adverse effects.
A Gaethje leg kick sends Ferguson stumbling across the octagon and both men risk it all with late headkicks before the bell.
Gaethje's corner tell him not to get too comfortable and warn him to stay sharp.
Ferguson's corner told him to look for a submission but he starts the round with more strikes.
Gaethje fizzes left hands into Ferguson's slashed face but El Cucuy keeps marching forward and bleeding.
More monster punches exhanged and Ferguson looks hurt for the first time as his legs wobbled.
Ferguson gets plenty of attention from the doctor above his left eye.
He tells his trainer: “I'm OK”
Ferguson scores a brilliant sweepkick but Gaethje bounces back up onto his feet.
Gaethje lands a headkick and then the warhorses swap bombs, with no concern for the skulls or defence strategies.
Ferguson's right cheek is slashed but his corner tell him he is fighting beautfully.
Blood is pouring down the left cheek and right eye of Ferguson.
This is a brutal one.
Ferguson suddenly has a horrible welt under his left eye after Gaethje landed dozens of left hooks.
Gaethje did not seem to be wobbling Ferguson at all but the cut is and bruising is bad and, if his vision begins to suffer, he could be stopped.
Gaethje lands a monsterous right hand and barrels backwards but he returns with an elbow.
Ferguson was looking in control but his face is suddenly a bloody fleshy mess.
Gaethje's corner is fuming at how their man is overloading on his shots.
But their main concern is making sure he recovers from the last-ditch decking.
Ferguson does not dive straight in to finish the job but he lands another lead uppercut as Gaethje starts to spew blood from around his mouth and nose.
Gaethje ends the rounds on the deck.
Gaethje targeting Ferguson's front leg with whipped legkicks.
Ferguson scores back with a right hand but it's Gaethje doing the better boxing.
DC and Rogan ponder whether Gaethje can go five rounds as they are confident Ferguson flies through the full 25 minutes.
Gaethje lands another straight right and left hook, Ferguson drops Gaethje right on the bell.
An uppercut dropped him right to the deck, his legs buckled and he collapsed briefly.
Team Ferguson tell their man he was boxing wonderfully.
Gaethje's corner tell him to switch levels when on the front foot.
Ferguson wobbled Gaethje with an instant superman punch but then Gaethje smashed another left hook into Ferguson's skull.
Either Gaethje lacks power or Ferguson has a granite chin.
Gaethje apologised for this during the final seconds of round one.
It appeared he had fingers near Ferguson's eye.
Gaethje is not conserving energy for the later rounds, the haymakers are flying early in Florida.
Ferguson smiled after Gaethje threw a one-two but, when he threw a lead uppercut, Gaethje punished him.
Ferguson just shipped a couple of meaty left hooks and the pair had a chat as the bell ended the opener.
Gaethje apologised for an eyepoke.
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