Justin Gaethje has an uncanny potential to strike rapidly. He hopes to parlay that talent right into a championship when he takes on Tony Ferguson for the interim light-weight title on Saturday in the principle occasion of UFC 249. The principle UFC 249 struggle card from VyStar Veterans Memorial Enviornment in Jacksonville is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET. Gaethje (21-2), who has received all six of his profession title fights, appears to be like to distribute loads of punishment on Ferguson and ranks No. 1 in UFC historical past with 8.57 strikes landed per minute.

Ferguson (26-3) will likely be attempting to put up his 13th consecutive victory regardless of having a bit greater than a month to organize for Gaethje. The veteran initially was scheduled to battle UFC light-weight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who’s unable to journey to the USA as a result of restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic. Ferguson is a -190 favourite (threat $190 to win $100), whereas Gaethje is a +160 underdog in line with the most recent Ferguson vs. Gaethje odds from William Hill. Within the co-main occasion, Henry Cejudo (-240) defends his bantamweight title in opposition to two-time former champion Dominick Cruz (+200). Earlier than making any UFC 249 picks, be sure you see the most recent UFC predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Brandon Smart.

A CBS Sports activities editor specializing in MMA, Smart has been dissecting the game for 5 years. He focuses on choosing main-card fights for UFC, which has enabled him to be worthwhile yearly. Smart went an ideal 5-Zero at UFC 239 and 4-1 at UFC 245. He additionally nailed Khabib Nurmagomedov’s destruction of Conor McGregor in 2018, Stipe Miocic’s upset of Daniel Cormier and Max Holloway’s downfall in 2019. Throughout UFC 247 and UFC 248, Smart went 7-Three together with his main-card picks, returning wholesome income for anybody following them.

Smart additionally nailed the principle occasion of UFC 248 in March, telling SportsLine members to anticipate middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (-275) to retain his title in opposition to Yoel Romero (+235) by unanimous resolution. He argued that Adesanya would hold the motion on the toes and was confirmed appropriate because the champ landed quite a few leg kicks en path to victory. Anybody who has constantly adopted Smart is method up.

Now, with UFC 249 quick approaching, Smart rigorously has studied each matchup on the principle card, recognized the perfect worth within the UFC odds and launched his MMA picks for every struggle. He is solely sharing these picks right here.

Ferguson vs. Gaethje knowledgeable preview

Smart is aware of Ferguson had been getting ready to struggle Nurmagomedov, who at present is caught in Russia. It marks the fifth time a matchup between the 2 has didn’t happen after being booked.

Ferguson is within the midst of the longest profitable streak in UFC light-weight historical past. The 36-year-old Californian has received 12 consecutive fights, the final being a second-round TKO in opposition to Donald Cerrone on June 8. 

A former collegiate wrestling champion, Ferguson has not misplaced since dropping a unanimous resolution to Michael Johnson on Could 5, 2012. He captured the interim light-weight championship with a submission win over Kevin Lee in October 2017, however was stripped of the title after withdrawing from a struggle with Nuragomedov in April 2018 on account of a torn knee ligament.

Ferguson’s profitable streak may come to an finish in opposition to the fourth-ranked Gaethje, who has recorded three straight victories after struggling back-to-back losses. The 31-year-old from Arizona’s most up-to-date win additionally got here in opposition to Cerrone, as he scored a TKO within the first spherical on Sept. 14. Get Smart’s predictions for Ferguson vs. Reyes and each principal card struggle right here.

Prime UFC 249 predictions

Certainly one of Smart’s UFC 249 predictions: He’s backing Francis Ngannou (-260) to defeat Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+210) in a heavyweight bout.

Ngannou (14-3) is seeking to prolong his profitable streak and enters this struggle with three straight first-round knockout victories. The second-ranked heavyweight hopes to earn one other shot at UFC champion Stipe Miocic after dropping an unanimous resolution on Jan. 20, 2018. 

Rozenstruik (10-0) is raring to check the chin of Ngannou after knocking out 9 of the primary 10 opponents in his profession. The 32-year-old from Suriname, who’s ranked sixth within the division, was extra energetic than Ngannou previous to the pandemic, as he posted victories in November and December, whereas his Cameroonian opponent final was within the Octagon almost a 12 months in the past (June 29, 2019).

“In a matchup like this, I all the time favor the fighter with extra expertise on the large stage,” Smart advised SportsLine. “It is a show-me struggle for Rozenstruik, however Ngannou has been on this place too many instances to be counted out now.”

Tips on how to make Ferguson vs. Gaethje picks

Smart additionally has sturdy picks for Ferguson vs. Gaethje and each different bout on the principle UFC 249 struggle card. He is additionally backing a fighter whose “explosiveness” will propel him to a decisive victory. Get each decide for each struggle on the UFC 249 principal card at SportsLine.

Who wins Ferguson vs. Gaethje? And the way precisely does every struggle finish? See the most recent UFC 249 odds beneath after which go to SportsLine now to get detailed picks on each struggle on the UFC 249 principal card, all from the achieved knowledgeable who has been worthwhile for 5 straight years.

UFC 249 principal card odds (by way of William Hill)

Tony Ferguson (-190) vs. Justin Gaethje (+160)
Henry Cejudo (-240) vs. Dominick Cruz (+200)
Francis Ngannou (-260) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+210)
Calvin Kattar (-240) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+200)
Greg Hardy (-175) vs. Yorgan De Castro (+150)