They shall return.
The sports that all retreated amid the onslaught of the coronavirus have been mobilizing behind the scenes. Now, the comeback has begun.
The NFL Draft was held as scheduled last week. The PGA Tour plans to resume its season at the Charles Schwab Challenge in mid June. Major League Baseball hopes to begin shortly thereafter.
But the UFC will make its return before the rest. The MMA enterprise begrudgingly halted its events during the pandemic and had to postpone UFC 249, which was initially scheduled for April 18 on Native American tribal lands in California.
Now, it’s back on, with Jacksonville, Florida playing host to UFC 249 on Saturday, May 9. The action begins at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast via ESPN Pay-Per-View. BetRivers Online Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse Sports Betting in PA are offering a wealth of betting options for the event, with lines posted on each of the 12 fights.
Betting lines make Ferguson the favorite in co-main event
In a fight for the interim lightweight title, top-ranked Tony Ferguson is currently -167 after opening at -190. Justin Gaethje has held steady at +155 at both BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse.
Fans are expecting an entertaining fight, considering the two competitors have combined for 17 post-fight performance bonuses in their career.
The other main event features Henry Cejudo, the bantamweight champion, and Dominick Cruz, who has not fought since 2016. Cejudo is the clear favorite at -220 on both sites. Cruz enters at +185.
Luque, Price fight in 2017 rematch
Another bout on the UFC 249 card features a pair of fighters who have met inside the octagon already. Vicente Luque (-278) won his first match with Niko Price via a second-round submission in 2017. Price is the underdog in this match too, with a betting line of +226.
Former NFL player Greg Hardy is also fighting next Saturday night, squaring off against Yorgan DeCastro in a heavyweight match. Hardy is the favorite at -182, while DeCastro has odds of +152.
The other matchups and their betting lines are as follows:
- Anthony Pettis (-139) vs. Donald Cerrone (+117)
- Calvin Kattar (-265) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+211)
- Ronaldo Souza (-127) vs. Uriah Hall (+107)
- Bryce Mitchell (-186) vs. Charles Rosa (+155)
- Carla Esparza (-155) vs. Michelle Waterson (+130)
- Fabricio Werdum (-355) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+260)
- Francis Ngannou (-286) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+233)
- Ryan Spann (-420) vs. Sam Alvey (+325)
UFC also planning additional fights in May
Beyond next Saturday, the UFC is planning to continue the action a few days later with eight additional fights scheduled between May 13 and May 16. The fights will begin at 7 p.m. both nights. Additional details about the subsequent fights should be available in the near future.
Nothing has really returned to normal just yet. Our beloved sports are still on hiatus. But as spring swings toward summer, there are encouraging signs up ahead.
One of them will arrive May 9, with a bevy of fighters walking toward the octagon.
The UFC will be back. Other sports hope to follow too.
They shall return.