Gaethje And Barboza Almost Kick Each Others Legs Off Before Barboza Gets Slept Stiff
Two of the UFC’s premier lightweights squared off tonight in the main event of the UFC’s second foray onto ESPN, with Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza both looking to put themselves closer to title contention in arguably the most stacked weight class in all of MMA.
Gaethje first entered the UFC Octagon back in 2017, despite having already been competing as a professional fighter since 2011. Despite making his way into mixed martial arts following a decorated career in amateur wrestling, it would be the American’s knockout power, and frequent disregard for his own safety in the cage, that would see him rise up the lightweight rankings.
After winning the World Series of Fighting Lightweight Title in 2014, Gaethje would go on to finish every opponent he would face for the belt before getting his call up to the UFC.
Having earned a reputation as being one of the most fan-friendly fighters in all of MMA, Gaethje would continue to live up to his moniker of “The Highlight” by getting a late knockout over Michael Johnson in an all-out war that was a contender for fight of the year in 2017.
Gaethje’s streak of all-action performances continued, even though he lost two consecutive fight-of-the-year worthy bouts to Dustin Poirer and Eddie Alvarez.
Since then, Gaethje has returned to winning ways in the Octagon, knocking out surging contender James Vick back in August in characteristically violent fashion. In earning a ‘performance of the night’ bonus from the UFC, Gaethje continued his incredible streak of being awarded a bonus in all of his trips to the Octagon to that point.
Much like his opponent tonight, Edson Barboza has a predilection for destroying his opponent’s movement with chopping leg kicks and, as a result, has reaffirmed his status as a fan favourite nearly every time he has stepped into the Octagon.
The Brazilian performed arguably the most spectacular knockout in UFC history when he nearly decapitated Terry Etim with a wheel kick KO back in 2012.
Since then, Barboza has fought a whos who of the top talent at 155lbs, including a 2017 decision loss to current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Just like Gaethje, Barboza entered tonight’s fight looking to extend his win streak to two fights, following a two-fight skid. Also like the American, Edson’s last appaerence in the Octagon saw him brutally dominate his opponent, as he stopped game contender Dan Hooker with a body shot in the second round.
Who is ready for some violence? @EdsonBarbozaJr and @Justin_Gaethje faced off for the first and only time ahead of their potential "Fight of the Year" tomorrow night. #UFCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/4bPUdcgiYB
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) March 29, 2019
Although neither man is known for their trash talking, the pair’s staredown at yesterday’s weigh-ins was more than enough indication that both men intended on going to war for five rounds, or until one of them was unable to continue.
And that’s exactly what they did.
The main event almost went as everyone predicted, with both men exchanging leg kicks, but with Gaethje’s superior boxing proving to much in the end.
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