SPORTS

Gaethje stuns Ferguson to win UFC interim lightweight title

The win puts the 31-year-old American in position to face Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year for the undisputed title. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI: The Ultimate Fighting Championship Saturday grew to be the first most important American wearing match held due to the fact that the US coronavirus outbreak, with President Donald Trump congratulating the promoter.

The controversial card put the UFC in the highlight like by no means before, however did now not go off barring a hitch after middleweight Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was once dropped when he and two of his cornermen examined nice for Covid-19 on Friday.

The essential tournament noticed Justin Gaethje dominate Tony Ferguson with a fifth-round technical knockout victory in the light-weight division. Gaethje completed his opponent off three minutes and 39 seconds into the fifth to earn the period in-between light-weight crown.
“It labored out great,” stated promoter Dana White. “I am completely happy with the way it went tonight.”

In a pre-recorded video shown in the course of the undercard fights, Trump — who in November attended a UFC card — congratulated White for the sport’s return.

“Get the sports activities leagues back, let’s play,” the president said. “You do the social distancing and something else you have to do, however we want sports. We prefer our sports activities back.”

The fights have been staged in an empty 15,000-seat VyStar Veterans Memorial area in Jacksonville, Florida, after previously tries to preserve it in New York and California failed due to pandemic restrictions on stay carrying events.

The international outbreak has mostly shut down the American economy, however Florida authorities have deemed expert sports activities — along with combined martial arts — quintessential businesses.

White downplayed the bad have an effect on of Souza’s nice check and insisted it confirmed they had been on pinnacle of things.

“Obviously the machine that we set up works. We discovered out he used to be effective and all the different assessments have been negative,” he said.

“We have two extra fights this week. We will do over 1,100 tests.”

He has additionally introduced playing cards for Wednesday and subsequent Saturday in Jacksonville — in spite of declaring he expects to see extra wonderful coronavirus exams this week.

“When you are trying out that tons I am certain we are going to discover someone else who is positive,” White advised ESPN.

– Step closer to normalcy –

With the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer all suspended — alongside with the US PGA Tour and LPGA — White is touting the return of UFC as a step towards normalcy and a boon for sports-starved fans.

Post-fight interviews on Saturday have been performed interior the ring except masks. Outside the Octagon many personnel — however no longer all — have been sporting some shielding equipment.

“I desired to seem them in the eye. I didn’t favor it to be some impersonal element the place he is a hundred ft away from me,” stated Joe Rogan, interviewing inner the ring.

Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer wore a masks cage-side, casting off it for introductions and outcomes whilst internal the ring.

Gaethje pummelled Ferguson from the opening bell, swelling each his eyes and reducing him on the cheek. Referee Herb Dean stopped the battle after Gaethje landed a stable left that wobbled Ferguson.

Both predominant tournament warring parties made weight on Friday at a weigh-in the place media individuals and most UFC group of workers had been saved at a distance, those nearer to the combatants wore masks and the scale was once sanitized.

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