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On the Horizon: UFC 249 and Beyond

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Travis Lizotte Full Contact Writer

Let's face it, this no live sports thing is sucking the life out of all of us. I know I would give a handsome portion of my stimulus money to sit in front of my television and watch some live fights once again. Fear not New England MMA fans there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as the UFC announced at the end of April that UFC 249 will take place at a new location; the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9th as the UFC plans to roll out three fight cards in just eight days from its temporary home in the Sunshine State, all without spectators in attendance. Along with the headline billing UFC 249 Ferguson v. Gaethje, the UFC will host Fight Night cards on both May 13th (Main Event: Anthony Smith (33-14) v. Glover Teixeira (30-7)) and 16th (Main Event; Alistair Overeem (45-18) v. Walt Harris (13-7), as the UFC looks to lead the sport world back into some semblance of normalcy with a stacked week long fight binge that begins with an absolute banger of a fight card at UFC 249 which airs on ESPN and ESPN+ pay-per-view.

Headlined by what seems to be an ever evolving Lightweight Title tilt between Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (25-3) and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (21-2) for the UFC’s Interim Lightweight crown, UFC 249 will play host to three matchups that New England MMA fans have had their eyes set on for quite some time. Three New England MMA veterans will make their highly anticipated Octagon returns Saturday as “Boston Strong” Charles Rosa (12-3, 6th UFC appearance), Yorgan “The Mad Titan” De Castro (6-0, 2nd UFC appearance) and Calvin “The Boston Finisher” Kattar (20-4, 7th UFC appearance) lead an entire region out of the darkness of quarantine. Although it’s hard to say when we will see MMA at the regional level once again, seeing our region's fighters competing for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak will overcome a massive hurdle as the sport pushes closer to a return globally.

With the UFC currently ironing out the ground rules for holding fights well into the summer months, including an attempt to work with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to bring fights to the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, as well as the well traveled rumor of “Fight Island,” New England could see some of their favorite combatants return to the cage sooner rather than later. Below we take a closer look at all three New Englander’s matchups set to take place this Saturday at UFC 249 in Jacksonville. Also, we look back on two fights involving New England mainstays that were lost due to the virus, but could be rescheduled soon, as the UFC hopes to re-book bouts scrapped due to the Corona pandemic and uphold their entire 42 event schedule in 2020.

“Boston Strong” Charles Rosa (12-3, Peabody, Massachusetts) v. Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell (12-0) UFC 249 Prelims.