Justin Gaethje is without a doubt one of the most entertaining fighters in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), as his push-the-pace style has made him a fan favorite, earning him a incomparable highlight reel of destruction.
So when you throw “The Highlight” in the cage with another person with a similar aggressive style, non-stop violence is a certainty. That’s exactly what occurred in March of 2019 when Gaethje faced off against fellow fearsome striker, Edson Barboza, in the main event of UFC on ESPN 2.
From the jump, both men came out swinging, exchanging hard leg kicks to start the bout. Then the punches in bunches began, as both hard-hitting contenders unloaded heavy bombs hoping to score an early knockout. Naturally, neither man backed down, staying in the pocket eating shots in order to land his own. 40 seconds into the bout, Gaethje clipped Barboza with a sneaky overhand right, dazing the Brazilian bomber and forcing him to retreat to the cage.
Smelling blood, Gaethje pounced, though Edson didn’t waver as he still unloaded his own strikes as defense. After a brief tussle for position, the two separated only to engage in an all-out striking exchange that had fans going wild.
After landing some low kicks of his own, Barboza made the small mistake of trying to circle left with his guard down, which was all Gaethje needed to land a devastating right hook to put him out for the count. And just like that, Justin added another impressive knockout to his resume, as well as his fifth straight post-fight bonus in as many attempts inside the Octagon.
Gaethje will next look to become the UFC interim Lightweight champion when he faces off against Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249 on May 9 inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To see the full UFC 249: “Ferguson vs Gaethje” fight card click here.