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UFC 254 free fight: Justin Gaethje batters Tony Ferguson to win interim lightweight title

Justin Gaethje won the UFC interim lightweight title by snapping one of the promotion’s most impressive winning streaks with a memorable performance at UFC 249.

Gaethje faced Tony Ferguson in the main event in Jacksonville, where he looked to continue his impressive run and get a shot at the undisputed lightweight title.

In a competitive opening round, both men loaded up with their strikes as Gaethje chopped away at Ferguson’s lead leg with punishing kicks, while Ferguson mixed up his attack by switching stances. As the round progressed, Gaethje seemed to grow in confidence as he started to find a home for his left hook.

In Round 2, Gaethje continued to punish Ferguson, who somehow ate all of “The Highlight’s” best shots. Just when it looked like Gaethje was taking full control, Ferguson stunned him with an uppercut which briefly dropped him at the sound of the horn.

But in Round 3, Gaethje took back the reins and busted up Ferguson’s face with a relentless barrage of strikes. He rocked “El Cucuy” with a big overhand right, but Ferguson recovered and continued to press forward.

The damage was clearly visible on Ferguson’s face as Gaethje continued to dominate the striking exchanges in Rounds 4 and 5. Then, at the 3:38 mark of the final round, the referee waved off the action after Gaethje hurt him with a stinging left jab that forced Ferguson to finally back away.

It saw Gaethje (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)  crowned UFC interim lightweight champion and booked him a shot against reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC). The pair will meet in the main event of UFC 254, which takes place Saturday at Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Before he faces Nurmagomedov on “UFC Fight Island,” relive Gaethje’s finish of Ferguson via the video above.

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