All-violence lightweights Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza threw down tonight (Saturday, March 30, 2019) live on ESPN from inside Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gaethje and Barboza had both bounced back from brutal losses to top contenders with brilliant knockout wins — Gaethje over James Vick, Barboza over Dan Hooker — setting up this lightweight showdown. Like all of Gaethje’s fights and most of Barboza’s, it promised to a be a scrap for the ages.
They touched gloves. Both men were all business. Gaethje opened with a leg kick, then another. Barboza returned one, and Gaethje threw another. They got into the pocket and traded. Barboza landed a head kick. Gaethje hurt Barboza! He followed him to the cage and tried throwing uppercuts, then clinched. He landed a short right hand. Barboza separated. Gaethje avoided a leg kick. Gaethje stepped in and they traded, both men landing hard! Barboza was hurt again! Gaethje took his time again, ate a hard leg kick. He landed a huge right hand as Edson tried to circle out, and Barboza went down hard! That was it! Huge, first-round knockout for Justin Gaethje! The referee dove on top of Edson, protecting him from Gaethje’s diving follow-up punch. Unbelievable win, incredible scrap while it lasted. Gaethje did his signature flip off the cage, and waved the American flag for the crowd.
Gaethje enthusiastically embraced Barboza after the result was read. Gaethje said ‘this is the toughest sport on earth, and the best live show on earth, I guarantee it!” He said he has no nerves or fear coming into a fight, which in itself scares him, but “I love it too much.” After acknowledging that Barboza does indeed kick hard (he will be sore tomorrow) He said it’s one at a time for him, and said it is ridiculous that Cerrone moved in front of him after beating the number 15 guy. He said he is so proud to represent the United States of America against Brazil’s top martial artist. He said he would not recommend this sport to his enemy, but he was born and bred and raised to do this, and he will do it until the wheels fall off.
Official result: Justin Gaethje def. Edson Barboza via KO at 2:30 of Round 1
For UFC on ESPN 2 results, including play-by-play, click here