JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kicks, punches and grunts echoed via the empty area. Coaches, commentators and camera clicks resonated love never forward of. Blood, sweat, swollen eyelids and face masks signaled the return of UFC, the predominant predominant wearing match to renew since the coronavirus shuttered worthy of the nation for nearly about two months.
UFC 249 ushered in a new look for for sports actions, too. One without followers and amid several security precautions.
It changed into positively assorted — two fighters adjusted their approaches due to of what they heard announcers roar — and a welcome reprieve for a sports actions-craved nation that went nearly about eight weeks without any are residing events.
Almost 5 hours after President Trump congratulated UFC for restarting the sports actions world, Justin Gaethje heavily favored Tony Ferguson (26-4) in the predominant match, earning a TKO in the fifth and finest round of the headliner that changed into deemed an intervening time gentle-weight title bout. It in actual fact offers Gaethje (22-2) the fine to fight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov subsequent. Nurmagomedov changed into unable to fight this weekend due to of lunge restrictions.
Gaethje flipped himself out of the octagon and attend in after the victory after which screamed repeatedly.
“I desire the exact one,” he mentioned as he threw down the intervening time belt.
The stacked fight card noticed 33-year-feeble Henry Cejudo, with blood gushing from his foreheadand running down his chest, defend his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz after which order his retirement in the center of the octagon. It also incorporated heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou pummel yet some other opponent, outmoded NFL defensive terminate Greg Hardy, to prefer for the sixth time in eight fights and outmoded welterweight champion and fan popular Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone lose his fourth straight.
Trump changed into fragment of the match moreover. His taped message changed into played at some stage in ESPN’s broadcast of the undercard.
“I delight in to congratulate (UFC President) Dana White and the UFC,” Trump mentioned. “They’re going to please in a colossal match. We love it. We predict it’s important. Get the sports actions leagues attend. Let’s play. Enact the social distancing and whatever else you need to well presumably also simply delight in to build. We’d like sports actions. We desire our sports actions attend.”
UFC 249 changed into at the beginning scheduled for April 18 in Fresh York, however changed into postponed in hopes of helping slack the spread of COVID-19.
The blended martial arts behemoth will take three displays in eight days in Jacksonville, the attach express officers deemed knowledgeable sports actions with a nationwide viewers exempt from a terminate-at-house show as long because the positioning is closed to the public.
The UFC came up with a 25-web page document to take care of well being and security protocols, procedures that led to Jacaré Souza sorting out definite for COVID-19 on Friday. His middleweight bout against Uriah Hall changed into canceled that night. Souza’s two cornermen also examined as definite, the UFC mentioned.
All three men left the host hotel to self-isolate in assorted locations, the attach UFC’s scientific workforce will video display their prerequisites remotely and provide aid with the predominant therapies.
The definite results indubitably elevated the focal point on the match. Each other sport is staring at carefully to look the draw it performs out.
White didn’t delight in to lengthen any fights. He tried to host the match on tribal land in California and tranquil hopes to invent a “Fight Island” for future playing cards.
He settled for Jacksonville for on the least per week — without followers and with social-distancing guidelines in predicament.
Judges and broadcasters labored from separate tables. Fighters, trainers, referees, judges, UFC crew and even exterior media had to endure COVID-19 sorting out to salvage interior Veterans Memorial Enviornment.
Quite lots of these in attendance Saturday wore masks and gloves, though several were apparently exempt from the mandate. Referees, ring announcer Bruce Buffer, other officers interior the octagon and the ring girl were unmasked. Play-by-play commentator Joe Rogan, who in the starting attach changed into imagined to interview winners remotely, ended up doing them interior the octagon.
The cage floor changed into disinfected between bouts, and the padded ingredients of the octagon were wiped down between rounds.
With out followers, though, sounds that on the total would be muted or fully drowned out crammed the desolate area. Fighters mentioned it affected their bouts. Hardy and Carla Esparza mentioned they altered their components after hearing commentators at some stage in early rounds.
“It’s laborious to assess without the gang,” Anthony Pettis mentioned after beating Cerrone in a wild welterweight fight. “When I land stuff, I hear the gang and comprehend it changed into an even one. This time, there changed into no crowd. I noticed his head pop, however there changed into nothing in the attend of it, so it’s laborious to bid.”
Also on the cardboard:
— Cejudo (16-2) caught Cruz (22-3) with an even knee to the face that sent him reeling to the canvas. Cejudo then delivered nearly about a dozen unanswered blows forward of the referee stopped it. Cruz argued it never must tranquil were known as due to he changed into working to salvage attend on his feet. Cejudo surprisingly ended his career a immediate while later, announcing he desires to spend beyond regular time alongside side his family.
— Ngannou knocked out fellow heavyweight Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds. Ngannou rushed Rozenstruik and delivered a flurry of blows that left Rozenstruik so woozy he had bother coming into into his slides long after the fight ended. It changed into Ngannou’s fourth consecutive victory totaling not as much as 3 minutes in the octagon.
— Calvin Kattar (21-4) stopped Jeremy Stephens (28-18) in the 2nd round after consecutive elbow blows, one standing and yet some other on the floor.
— Hardy (6-2) accepted a unanimous option over Yorgan De Castro (6-1) in a heavyweight bout.
— “Showtime” Pettis (23-10) beat Cerrone (36-15) in an unanimous option. Pettis and Cerrone closing fought in 2013. Pettis won that one moreover. Cerrone has dropped four in a row, alongside side losses to Conor McGregor, Gaethje and Ferguson.
— Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik (59-13-1) beat Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1) in a heavyweight bout featuring a pair of 42-year-olds. It changed into a split option that incorporated extra toe-to-toe blows than floor grappling.
— Carla Esparza (16-6) edged Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson (17-8) in a split option. It changed into Esparza’s third straight victory in the straw-weight division.
— Vicente Luque (18-7-1) won for the seventh time in eight fights when he beat Niko Tag (14-4) in a bloodbath. The fight changed into ruled a TKO in the third round after Tag developed a immoral decrease above his fine survey. Luque changed into forward on all three playing cards when it changed into known as.
— Featherweight Bryce Mitchell (13-1) defeated fellow grappler Charles Rosa (12-4) in a unanimous option.
— Spann (18-5) prolonged his winning jog to eight by beating broken-down Sam Alvey (33-14) in a split option.
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By Nolan King | Would per chance perchance well 10, 2020 2: 45 am JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the full speaking, UFC president Dana White is elated with the COVID-19 making an strive out system his promotion instituted for UFC 249 combat week. Friday night, middleweight Ronaldo Souza, changed into the first promotional fighter to...