UFC 249 Prelims on ESPN: Cerrone vs Pettis - Odds and Predictions
UFC 249: How to Watch
Where: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, FL.
When: Saturday, May 9, 10PM EST
How (TV): UFC Fight Pass; Watch on ESPN+ here!
Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis – Welterweight Division
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Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-14, 1 no-contest)
Height: 6 ft.
Reach: 73 in.
Always a fan favorite who never turns down a fight, many would argue that Donald Cerrone is in the twilight of his career.
Always respectful and always entertaining in the cage, Cerrone currently finds himself on a three-fight losing streak, losing all three of those fights via TKO.
Although, one can’t really blame him as his last three fights came against Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje (both fighting for the interim lightweight title in the main event) and to former double-champion Conor McGregor.
That latter fight against McGregor came back on January 18 at UFC 246. It was McGregor’s return to the octagon and he stopped Cerrone via TKO within the first 40 seconds of the bout.
This will be Cerrone’s return to the welterweight division since his fight against Mike Perry in 2018. The Colorado-native trains at the BMF Ranch with trainer Joe Schilling.
Fighting professionally since 2002, he boasts a black belt in gaidojutsu and as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Eliot Marshall. He also has a professional kickboxing record of 28-0-1. He has UFC records for the most wins, most finishes, most post-fight bonuses, and most fights in the octagon. He ranks as the sixth-best lightweight in the UFC.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (22-10)
Height: 5 ft. 10 in.
Reach: 72.5 in.
Anthony Pettis is another fighter that has bounced between weight classes during his time in the UFC. A former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, Pettis spent most of his UFC career at 155-pounds until he moved up to the welterweight division in 2019 to fight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Pettis shocked the world by knocking Thompson out in the second round. He would then lose a unanimous decision to Nate Diaz at UFC 241. After the Diaz fight, Pettis would return to the lightweight division to fight Carlos Diego Ferreira. Pettis would succumb to a rear-naked choke in the second round.
Training out of Milwaukee with coach Duke Roufus and the Roufusport team, Pettis has been active in mixed martial arts since 2007. Known mostly for his striking prowess, Pettis has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Daniel Wanderley and a 3rd-dan black belt in taekwondo. He is currently ranked as the 15th-best welterweight in the UFC.
Alexey Oleynik vs Fabricio Werdum – Heavyweight Division
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Alexey “Boa Constrictor” Oleynik (58-13-1)
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Reach: 80 in.
After suffering consecutive losses to top heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris, Alexey Oleynik bounced back with a stunning performance, earning him a performance of the night bonus, against Maurice Greene.
Oleynik faced off against Greene at UFC 246 in January and overcame some early adversity to submit Greene in the second-round via armbar.
Currently ranked as the 12-best heavyweight in the UFC, Oleynik has been fighting professionally since 1997. The Russian-born fighter now lives and trains in Florida with the American Top Team gym.
He boasts an international master of sport in sambo, a 4th-degree black belt in jujutsu, and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Liborio. He is also the only man to win a fight in the UFC via ezekiel choke – and he has done it twice.
Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1)
Height: 6 ft. 4 in.
Reach: 77 in.
Some may not know this, but Fabricio Werdum was scheduled to face Alexey Oleynik back in 2018. However, Werdum was flagged by USADA after failing a drug test.
The substance in question turned out to be trenbolone, which led to the fighter being suspended from competition for two years. The suspension was later reduced to ten months. The former UFC heavyweight champion hasn’t fought since his KO loss to Alexander Volkov in March 2018.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist has been fighting professionally since 2002. He currently trains out of Los Angeles with Kings MMA. He has impressive grappling credentials, much like his opponent, boasting a 2nd-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well as black belts in muay thai and judo. He will have a two-inch height advantage over his opponent but Oleynik will have the two-inch reach advantage.
This bout is sure to be a grappling fan’s dream.
Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson – Women’s Strawweight Division
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Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (15-6)
Height: 5 ft. 1 in.
Reach: 63 in.
After back-to-back losses in 2018, Carla Esparza came back into contention in 2019, winning her last two fights in a row.
First by unanimous decision against Virna Jandiroba and then by majority decision against Alexa Grasso which was awarded fight of the night honors. The former Invicta FC strawweight champion was also the first woman in the UFC to wear the strawweight championship after an Ultimate Fighter tournament.
Esparza trains with Team Oyama out of her home state of California. She has been fighting professionally since 2010 and has NAIA wrestling credentials as well as a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She is currently ranked as the number-seven strawweight in the UFC.
Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson (17-7)
Height: 5 ft. 3 in.
Reach: 62 in.
Michelle Waterson was climbing the UFC strawweight rankings throughout 2018 and 2019, amassing three wins in a row over Cortney Casey, Felice Herrig, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
However, her last fight came against the former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejcyzk. The fight took place last October and Waterson was defeated via unanimous decision. She is a former atomweight fighter, which is a weight class that the UFC will most likely never introduce.
Waterson trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Jackson-Wink Academy. She has a black belt in American freestyle karate and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Rafael Freitas. She is known as a southpaw fighter and is ranked as the number-eight strawweight in the UFC.
Waterson will stand two inches taller than her opponent but Esparza will have the one-inch reach advantage.
Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Souza – Middleweight Division
Uriah “Prime Time” Hall (15-9)
Height: 6 ft.
Reach: 79.5 in.
After an impressive showing during his time on the Ultimate Fighter, Uriah Hall’s UFC career has gone on to have its ups and downs. However, after losing for top middleweights such as Robert Whittaker, Gegard Mousasi, and Paulo Costa, Hall has gone on to put together a two-fight winning streak. He defeated Bevon Lewis by knockout in 2018 and went on to defeat Antonio Carlos Junior by split decision last September.
This winning streak could be attributed to the fact that Hall now trains with Fortis MMA. Fighting out of New York, the Jamaican-born fighter has been active in MMA since 2005. He has a 2nd-degree black belt in kyokushin karate and a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He will have a very helpful 6.5-inch reach advantage over his opponent.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-8, 1 no-contest)
Height: 6 ft. 1 in.
Reach: 72 in.
Known for his time as a middleweight, Souza’s last fight was actually in the light heavyweight division. After going 2-3 since 2017, losing to Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, and Jack Hermansson, Souza bumped up to try his luck at light heavyweight. Last November, Jacare fought Jan Blachowicz and was defeated by the now number-one contender via split-decision. This fight against Hall will see Souza return to the middleweight division.
Known for his grappling prowess, the Brazilian fighter has an incredibly impressive 4th-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He also boasts a black belt in judo. He has been competing in mixed martial arts since 2003 and currently only ranks within the light heavyweight division at number-14.
Vicente Luque vs Niko Price – Welterweight Division
Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque (17-7-1)
Height: 5 ft. 11 in.
Reach: 75.5 in.
This is a big opportunity for Vicente Luque to get back into the win column against an exciting fan favorite fighter. Luque was originally slated to face Randy Brown on the April 11 Fight Night card, but that card was postponed and Luque was moved to UFC 249 against Niko Price, with the UFC banking on the fact that this would be an exciting matchup for the fans as there are nine post-fight bonuses between the two fighters.
After losing to Leon Edwards in 2017, Luque bounced back with a win over Niko Price. Yes, this is a rematch. That first win over Price led to a six-fight winning streak for Luque. His last fight came at UFC 244 where he faced Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Thompson would snap Luque’s winning streak, beating him by unanimous decision. So, once again, Luque is looking to use Price as his stepping stone back into the winner’s circle.
The American-born fighter trains out of Brazil with Cerrado MMA. He boasts a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a purple belt in luta livre esportiva. An orthodox fighter, he has been fighting professionally since 2009 and is currently ranked as the UFC’s 13th-best welterweight.
Niko “The Hybrid” Price (14-3, 1 no-contest)
Height: 6 ft.
Reach: 76 in.
Although Niko Price is only 3-2 over his last five fights, all three of those wins have come with performance of the night honors. Since joining the UFC in 2016, none of his fights (win or lose) have made it to the judges’ scorecards. Most recently, he fought last October against James Vick, whom he blindsided with an upkick to the jaw. A rare finishing strike in the UFC. The fight was over in the first round.
Born in Florida, Price trains with the Vickery Jiu-Jitsu school as well as with the Syndicate Boxing Club. He has been a professional fighter since 2012 and has a brown belt rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Currently, he is unranked in the UFC welterweight division.
Price will edge out Luque physically, but just barely, having a one-inch height advantage and just a half-inc reach advantage.
All odds updated May 5, 2020.