How Justin Gaethje Won the Interim Lightweight Title at U.F.C. 249

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Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson were matched to provide action.

In organizing the first major professional sporting event in North America since the Covid-19 pandemic prompted an industrywide shutdown eight weeks ago, the Ultimate Fighting Championship wanted to ensure that, with something of a monopoly on fan attention, the main event from U.F.C. 249 entertained.

And the fighters delivered violence — with Ferguson absorbing most of the punishment. Gaethje dominated the 36-year-old for nearly five rounds, pummeling him with heavy punches until the referee, Herb Dean,…

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