UFC 249 brought fight fans much joy Saturday after months of sports inactivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who watched the pay-per-view card were treated to 11 bouts, most of which were filled with striking.
All of that hitting caused a lot of damage, of course, and it was evident on the faces and bodies of several competitors.
Niko Price, well, paid the price for taking a vicious hook from Vicente Luque.
The strike led to a third-round stoppage.
In the first bout of the main card, Yorgan De Castro was using effective leg kicks to take the fight to former NFL player Greg Hardy. De Castro suddenly stopped being an aggressor, and he eventually lost the fight. The explanation was that the early kicks caused a foot injury.
The most brutal exchange had to be Calvin Kattar opening a large gash on Jeremy Stephens’ forehead following a knockdown AND Kattar suffering an apparent broken nose himself. Once all the blood was wiped away after the fight, people could see just how deep Stephens’ cut went.
Henry Cejudo was sliced up in his co-main event bantamweight title fight vs. Dominick Cruz, but he managed to shrug that off and win.
In the main event, Tony Ferguson took a beating from underdog Justin Gaethje for 23 minutes before the fight was stopped in the fifth round. Ferguson walked through a lot of the strikes, but his face showed how thoroughly Gaethje worked him over.
Getting back into the Octagon took a heavy toll on these fighters. (UPDATE: UFC president Dana White told reporters after the card that Ferguson and Price were transported to a local hospital.) And the UFC has two more events scheduled in the next week.