Justin Gaethje brutally knocks out Edson Barboza in instant classic at UFC Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 30:  (L-R) Justin Gaethje punches Edson Barboza of Brazil in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Wells Fargo Center on March 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Justin Gaethje punches Edson Barboza during UFC Fight Night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. (Getty Images)

There was no chance that Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza wouldn’t combine to put on a classic. They did just that in a brief battle at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia that ended when Gaethje scored his second-consecutive first-round knockout.

They came out exchanging powerful kicks, and quickly began exchanging punches. There were several fast-and-furious firefights, including one sequence in which Gaethje hurt Barboza and backed him against the cage during a flurry.

The end came when Barboza tried to exit off the cage and move to the center. Gaethje timed it perfectly and caught Barboza with a right cross that ended the fight at 2:30 of the first. It was his second first-round KO in succession, following an 87-second finish of James Vick in August.

This one was intense from the beginning, as each came out hard and kept a fast pace until the violent conclusion.

“I would not recommend this sport to my enemy,” Gaethje said. “But I was born, I was raised to do this and I will do it until the wheels fall off.”

Barboza lost for the third time in his last four outings, but he put on a great show while it lasted. He didn’t have the firepower to hang in that kind of a fight with Gaethje, who has one of the sport’s best chins.

But Barboza managed to get his licks in and Gaethje acknowledged the kicks had an impact.

“That son of a gun hits hard, man,” Gaethje said. “My leg is going to be sore tomorrow.”

He’ll go home sore but with the knowledge that he’s bound to move up in the rankings. He entered the fight eighth and knocked out Barboza, who was ranked sixth, in less than three minutes.

He did it in his typically flamboyant style that had the Wells Fargo Center crowd roaring and chanting Gaethje’s name.

“Oh man, this is the toughest sport on Earth, man, and the best live show on the planet,” Gaethje said. “I guarantee it. I just love this way too much.”

And he’s got a legion of fans around the world who love watching him doing this thing.

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