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Justin Gaethje vs Michael Johnson video: Re-live 2017’s ‘Fight of the Year’ ahead of UFC ‘Lincoln’

Before Justin Gaethje attempts to get back into the win column when he takes on James Vick in UFC Fight Night 135’s FOX Sports 1-televised main event this Saturday night (Aug. 25, 2018) in Lincoln, Neb., let’s take a look back at his explosive Octagon debut.

Back in July 2017, Gaethje stepped into the eight-walled cage for the very first time after spending the majority of his combat career fighting for World Series of Fighting (WSOF). And he wasn’t given a warm-up fight, either, when he was matched up opposite long-time veteran, Michael Johnson, in the headlining bout of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 25 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What ensued was an all out barn-burner, as Gaethje and Johnson wasted no time exchanging haymakers, with “The Menace” connecting early on. In true “Highlight” form, Gaethje took it on the chin and kept pushing forward. In doing so, he clipped Johnson with a few solid strikes to let him know he wasn’t going to back down an inch.

And he let him hear about it throughout the fight, too.

Still, Johnson didn’t back down, either, calling for Gaethje to come in after each strike, which only encouraged “Highlight” to do what he does best: Stand and bang. In the closing seconds of round one, Johnson rocked Gaethje with a huge right hand and proceeded to follow up with haymakers in an attempt to end the fight. Instead, the round came to an end and Gaethje survived.

In round two, though, Gaethje proved to be too much for Johnson, as his relentless pace was simply more than “The Menace” could handle, as he was visibly exhausted. After Gaethje connected with a flying knee, he proceed to pound out his foe on the feet to ultimately force a referee stoppage ... and ultimately earn 2017’s “Fight of the Year” honors from us fine folks at

While his Octagon debut was impressive, Gaethje went on to drop his next two outings against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. Now, he faces the up-and-coming James Vick in a crucial bout for both men.

To get up-to-speed with the latest UFC Fight Night 135 fight card click here.

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