UFC 249 odds, predictions: Top MMA insider unveils picks for Gaethje vs. Ferguson, Cejudo vs. Cruz

The UFC was the last major sports organization to hold a live event before the coronavirus pandemic put the entire sporting realm on hold. The mixed martial arts giant appears to be the first one to return as well. The fights resume with a stacked card at UFC 249 on Saturday, May 9 in Jacksonville, Fla. The 12-bout UFC 249 card from Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena is topped by not one, but two world title fights, with the main event featuring an interim lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

In mid-March, UFC Fight Night 170 was held in Brazil in an empty arena just as the pandemic was forcing the shutdown of all large public gatherings. The UFC tried to keep going, but subsequently saw four events postponed. Ferguson is a -170 favorite (risk $170 to win $100), while Gaethje is a +150 underdog in the latest UFC 249 odds at William Hill. In the co-main event, champion Henry Cejudo (-240) defends the bantamweight crown against Dominick Cruz (+200). Before you lock in any picks for the UFC 249 card, make sure you check out the latest UFC predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley.

Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and also appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and DFS shows. Over the past year, $100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up nearly $19,000.

At UFC 248, Marley told SportsLine members to expect middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (-275) to retain his title against Yoel Romero (+235) by unanimous decision. He argued that Adesanya would pick Romero apart on the feet and was proven correct, as the champ dominated the action with leg kicks while dodging Romero’s explosive power. Also, Marley went a stunning 9-2-1 at UFC Fight Night 170, the last UFC event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.

Now, with UFC 249 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every fight. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.

Gaethje vs. Ferguson preview 

Marley knows the 36-year-old Ferguson (25-3) comes in on a 12-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since May 2012. He is revered for his fearlessness and ability to win through a variety of MMA disciplines. Six of his last eight victories have come by stoppage, including a TKO of Donald Cerrone last year and a submission of Anthony Pettis in October 2018. The top-ranked Ferguson briefly held the interim belt after beating Kevin Lee by submission in October 2017.

Ferguson faces a challenge from the No. 4-ranked Gaethje (21-2), the former World Series of Fighting champion who has been waiting for a title opportunity amid a crowded division. It is believed the winner of the May 9 main event will get to challenge the Russian champ for the unified title.

Gaethje, 31, is known for his knockout power and relentless aggression. He started his UFC campaign with a 1-2 mark, but has since won three straight bouts by first-round knockout. He stopped Cerrone in September 2019. Gaethje has 18 knockouts among his 21 career MMA victories and only gone to a decision twice in his career. See Marley’s picks for Ferguson vs. Gaethje and every fight on the upcoming UFC 249 card here.

Top UFC 249 predictions

We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC 249 predictions here: He is backing Vicente Luque (-265) to submit Niko Price (+225) in a welterweight battle. 

The fighters previously met on the undercard of a Fight Night event in October 2017. Luque (17-7-1) won with a submission choke and started a streak of six consecutive victories. However, the 30-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist saw the streak halted with a decision loss in an action-packed bout against Stephen Thompson in November.

Price (14-3-1) has garnered a strong following among fans because of his easygoing nature outside of the Octagon and his fearless approach inside it. He has one-punch knockout power and has shown the ability to finish from a variety of positions. Price memorably knocked out James Vick with an up-kick from the bottom in their October bout.

However, the MMA analyst sees the favored Luque having the stylistic advantage. “Price is a wild guy and has yet to see the third round of a UFC fight in 10 outings,” Marley told SportsLine.

How to make UFC 249 picks

Marley also has strong picks for Ferguson vs. Gaethje and every other bout on the UFC 249 card. He’s also backing one man who’s “the scariest fighter alive.” You can only see every pick for every UFC fight here.

Who wins Ferguson vs. Gaethje? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every UFC 249 fight, all from the accomplished expert who’s up almost $19,000, and find out.

UFC 249 odds

Tony Ferguson (-170) vs. Justin Gaethje (+150)
Henry Cejudo (-240) vs. Dominick Cruz (+200)
Francis Ngannou (-270) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+230)
Calvin Kattar (-245) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+205)
Anthony Pettis (-130) vs. Donald Cerrone (+110)
Greg Hardy (-180) vs. Yorgan De Castro (+160)
Fabricio Werdum (-310) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+255)
Carla Esparza (-145) vs. Michelle Waterson (+125)
Jacare Souza (-125) vs. Uriah Hall (+105)
Vicente Luque (-265) vs. Niko Price (+225)
Bryce Mitchell (-175) vs. Charles Rosa (+155)
Ryan Spann (-380) vs. Sam Alvey (+300) 

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