The UFC have confirmed the full card for UFC 249 on Saturday week, April 18th, with Khabib Nurmagomedov officially out of the line-up.
36-year-old Tony Ferguson will take on highly-rated Arizonan Justin Gaethje in an interim lightweight title bout over five rounds.
A venue for the card is not yet known, with the original location in Brooklyn now off the table. It is understood the UFC had been looking at a venue on the west coast behind closed doors, although nothing has been confirmed.
There will be a hugely-anticipated rematch between former straw-weight champions Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas, who were due to fight on the original postponed 249 card.
UFC President Dana White was forced to tweet yesterday denying rumours that Khabib was in fact to be included on the card after all.
An unverified account tweeted "#BREAKING Dana White and Vladimir Putin have reached an agreement on travel arrangements for UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to come to the United States. He will fight Tony Ferguson. It’s happening folks. #UFC249 will go on as scheduled April 18."
— UFC (@ufc) April 7, 2020
White's reply was swift and to the point - "Absolutely NOT true!!! The card is happening but @TeamKhabib is out. I will announce the entire card tomorrow."
Reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib had announced in an Instagram post last week that he would not be participating due to travel restrictions out of Russia as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
His Instagram statement read:
Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people, and Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight? - I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all.
The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably.
But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying? -
Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes.