UFC 249: How to watch Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, plus expert analysis and predictions

Justin Gaethje describes how he's preparing to fight Tony Ferguson (1:15)

Justin Gaethje says he's training with UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, among others, as he gets ready to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on May 9. (1:15)

The UFC returns on May 9 after an eight-week hiatus with a card destined to entertain. The event will be held in Jacksonville, Florida and is headlined by an interim lightweight championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ pay-per-view, which fans can purchase here. Prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Ferguson (25-3) has won 12 straight fights and originally was scheduled to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the 155-pound belt in April. But the coronavirus pandemic scuttled those plans, and in stepped Gaethje (21-2), winner of three in a row. UFC president Dana White has said that the winner of this bout will be next for Nurmagomedov.

From top to bottom, this is a star-studded card. In the co-main, Henry Cejudo (15-2) makes his first defense of the men's bantamweight belt, taking on former two-time champ Dominick Cruz (22-2), who is returning from an extended absence due to injury. There's also a clash of heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou (14-3) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) in what is expected to be a title eliminator.

Before the pay-per-view begins, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone returns after his quick loss to Conor McGregor and faces Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, and Michelle Waterson hopes to get back on track in a tough bout against Carla Esparza.

How to watch UFC 249:

Watch the prelims on ESPN: Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV

Don't have ESPN? Get instant access.

Don't have ESPN+ for the early prelims? Get it here.

Purchased the fight on your phone and want to stream on your TV? Find out how here.

UFC 249 schedule

PPV (via ESPN+, purchase here): 10 p.m. ET

Interim lightweight championship: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje

Bantamweight championship: Henry Cejudo (c) vs. Dominick Cruz

Heavyweight: Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Featherweight: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar

Heavyweight: Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro

ESPN: 6 p.m.

Welterweight: Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis

Heavyweight: Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum

Strawweight: Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson

Welterweight: Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price

Featherweight: Charles Rosa vs. Bryce Mitchell

Light heavyweight: Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey

(c) = defending champion

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