UFC 249: With Ronaldo Souza Out, Don’t Sleep on Former Cowboys DE Greg Hardy’s Fight with Yorgan De Castro
UFC 249 has been thrown a serious curveball with Friday’s news that Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and has been pulled from the card. UFC president Dana White, however, has said that the show must go on. Whether or not the decision to keep fighting Saturday night is a popular one, the card is still a good one, highlighted by the interim lightweight championship fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. One of the card’s most intriguing matchups will be the heavyweight fight between former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and the little-known, but undefeated, Yorgan De Castro.
Ronaldo Souza’s withdrawal from UFC 249 shocks the UFC world
It was a major blow to the UFC and its fans when Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza was found to have tested positive for COVID-19 Friday and his bout with Uriah Hall in UFC 249 on Saturday was canceled. Not only did Souza test positive, but so did two of his cornermen. The UFC immediately took action and pulled Souza from the card.
“UFC’s medical team examined Souza and his two cornermen and found them to be currently asymptomatic, or not exhibiting the common symptoms of COVID-19,” UFC said in a statement. “As per UFC’s health and safety protocols, all three men have left the host hotel and will be self-isolating off-premises, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment.”
Souza was coming into the fight with a 26-8 record. Hall, Souza’s opponent, wished Souza well in a Twitter post. “Brother I know it sucks,” he wrote. “I’m sorry you have to go through this. I am beyond devastated for the missed opportunity. I wish you nothing but recovery for you and your family.”
Former Dallas Cowboys DE Hardy fights little-respected De Castro
Most UFC fans will be putting much of their attention toward the interim lightweight championship fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. If not the Ferguson/Gaethje fight, many will be focused on the bantamweight title match between Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz.
One of the more intriguing fights of the night will be Greg Hardy, a former NFL player, fighting against little-known Yorgan De Castro, who comes in with a 6-0 record. Hardy began his football career when he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He spent six seasons in the NFL, the first five with the Panthers before playing the 2015 season with the Dallas Cowboys.
On July 15, 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting an ex-girlfriend and was sentenced to 18 months probation. He was also suspended by the NFL for 10 games, later reduced to four. In 2015, the former Pro Bowler signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys worth more than $11 million. He served the first four games of his suspension and played the final 12. He proved to be a distraction to the team and was not re-signed the following year.
Who is Yorgan De Castro?
Yorgan De Castro is a man who doesn’t get a whole lot of respect. For starters, De Castro is the only fighter on the main card who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. He’s 6-0 and isn’t commanding a whole lot of respect. He doesn’t seem to mind flying under the radar.
When he’s not fighting, De Castro is a security guard at Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts. He’s a regular family guy looking to make a name for himself in the UFC. There’s zero arrogance about him, but he’s very confident in himself.
The confidence De Castro has in himself has been there since Day 1. In June of 2019, De Castro fought in Dana White’s UFC Contender Series. The series was a bunch of guys looking to earn a UFC contract fighting in front of nobody except White himself. De Castro’s opponent was Alton Meeks. A month before the fight, De Castro was asked how he felt about the fight and what he was going to do to Meeks. Castro, quietly and confidently said, “I’m going to rip his head off.”