Much of the sports world has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but UFC president Dana White is hoping to draw a mammoth television audience for UFC 249 on Saturday, April 18. The event’s location is unknown, but the plan reportedly is to continue producing fights from the same spot for the next two months. Tony Ferguson was originally scheduled to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Championship atop the UFC 249 fight card, but Nurmagomedov was replaced by Justin Gaethje.

Ferguson is a -175 favorite (risk $175 to win $100), while Gaethje is a +130 underdog (risk $100 to win $130) in the latest Ferguson vs. Gaethje odds. In the co-main event on the UFC 249 card, Rose Namanjunas is a -195 favorite over Jessica Andrade (+165). Before making your UFC 249 picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has to say.

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.

While posting an amazing 8-3 record last month 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 while on his feet and was proven correct as the champ dominated the action with leg kicks. 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 single fight. He’s only sharing those selections here

Ferguson vs. Gaethje preview

Marley knows Ferguson had been preparing to fight Nurmagomedov, who is stuck in Russia. It marks the fifth time a matchup between the two has failed to take place after being booked.

Ferguson is in the midst of the longest winning streak in UFC lightweight history. The 36-year-old Californian has won 12 consecutive fights, the last being a second-round TKO against Donald Cerrone on June 8.

A former collegiate wrestling champion, Ferguson has not lost since dropping a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson on May 5, 2012. He captured the interim lightweight championship with a submission win over Kevin Lee in October 2017, but was stripped of the title after withdrawing from a fight with Nuragomedov in April 2018 due to a torn knee ligament.

Ferguson’s winning streak could come to an end against the fourth-ranked Gaethje, who has recorded three straight victories after suffering back-to-back losses. The 31-year-old from Arizona’s most recent win also came against Cerrone, as he scored a TKO in the first round on Sept. 14. You can see Marley’s full Ferguson vs. Gaethje picks here.

Top UFC 249 predictions

We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC 249 predictions here: He’s picking Francis Ngannou to get the win as a -333 favorite over Jairzinho Rozenstruik. This bout was originally scheduled to headline UFC Columbus, but the event was postponed while the UFC made plans to put on shows during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now that the fight is back on, the winner could be on his way to a heavyweight title shot. Ngannou (13-3) is ranked second in the division, while Rozenstruik (10-0) is ranked sixth. While both strikers have clear knockout power, Ngannou has plenty of marquee-fight experience as an 11-fight UFC veteran, compared to Rozenstruik’s four previous UFC bouts. 

“Ngannou may be the scariest man alive and has more power,” Marley told SportsLine. “Ngannou could even look for takedowns in this spot with either a GnP finish or a submission. The most likely outcome is that Ngannou gets a KO finish.”

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 a fighter who’s much more dangerous on the mat. Get every pick for every fight on the UFC 249 card at SportsLine.

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

UFC 249 odds (via William Hill)

Tony Ferguson (-175) vs. Justin Gaethje (+130)
Rose Namajunas (-195) vs. Jessica Andrade (+165)
Greg Hardy (-195) vs. Yorgan De Castro (+165)
Vicente Luque (-260) vs. Niko Price (+210)
Calvin Kattar (-270) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+220)
Francis Ngannou (-333) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+240)
Jacare Souza (-150) vs. Uriah Hall (+125)
Alexander Hernandez (-210) vs. Omar Morales (+175)
Ray Borg (-165) vs. Marlon Vera (+140)
Michael Johnson (-250) vs. Khama Worthy (+175)
Sijara Eubanks (-350) vs. Sarah Moras (+250)
Ryan Spann (-300) vs. Sam Alvey (+240)