COVID-19 has affected sports all over the world, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is one of the few sports that is continuing to push through. UFC 249 is scheduled to take place on April 18, but a shocking announcement on Monday has many MMA fans wondering if the fight will even take place.
Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedev made an announcement on his Instagram page on Monday that leaves the door open for a change in the biggest bout of the night. Nurmagomedev revealed that he is currently in Russia, and he doesn’t think that he will be able to get back to the United States in time for this fight.
Both Russia and the US have put severe travel restrictions in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The UFC has tried to make changes to their schedule, including potentially moving this fight to the United Arab Emirates. The fight was originally supposed to take place at the Barclays Center in New Jersey, but the state may prevent this from happening.
Nurmagomedev tried to travel to the UAE last week, but the country would not let him arrive. Nuramgomedev was speaking through a translator on his page and said that countries all over the world are locking down their borders.
Tony Ferguson was set to be Nurmagomedev’s opponent in this lightweight title bout, but sources have indicated that he is being offered a new opponent. The UFC has offered Ferguson a matchup with Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 to keep their main bout still on the card.
UFC President Dana White did not confirm any changes to the card on Monday, but he has insisted that this event will go on as scheduled.
If Nurmagomedov is unable to fight at this event, the sport will lose out on featuring one of their top fighters. The Russian has yet to lose a fight in his 28 starts, and he holds the lightweight title belt. Ferguson, who is 26-3, will miss out on a chance to take the title away.
UFC 249 Odds at FanDuel
As of Monday, FanDuel is still listing the odds for the main fight at UFC 249, and they will likely stay up until the fight is officially canceled. FanDuel also has betting odds available for the other bouts set to take place at UFC 249, and you can bet that there will be plenty of action.
The UFC is one of the few sports that continues with their live events, while the rest of the world is shut down due to concerns from the coronavirus.
FanDuel has Khabib Nurmagomedev listed as the favorite for this fight, with betting odds currently at -290. Ferguson is the clear underdog if this fight takes place, and odds on him are currently sitting at +230 at FanDuel.
In the Souza vs. Hall fight, FanDuel gives a much slighter edge to Ronaldo Souza. FanDuel currently lists his odds to win that fight at -130, while Uriah Hall checks in at +112.
Rose Namajunas is scheduled to take on Jessica Andrade in the biggest women’s bout of the night. FanDuel currently has Namajunas listed at -184, while setting the odds for Andrade at +156.
The other major bout scheduled to take place at UFC 249 is a matchup between Calvin Kattar and Jeremy Stephens. Kattar is listed as the betting favorite with -235 odds, while Stephens checks in with odds sitting at +196.
All other fights are expected to take place without any changes made, but anything can happen in these uncertain times that the United States is facing.