FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week: Justin Gaethje
By Kieran Cobley
Justin “The Highlight Reel” Gaethje (20-2) takes this week’s Fighter of the Week honours, following his first round KO win over Edson Barboza (20-7) in the highly anticipated main event of UFC Philadelphia.
Gaethje and Barboza were both coming into this fight off the back of a win, and both men are famed for their striking and ferocity.
The fight started off as many would think it would have, with the pair trading hard leg kicks, before both men started to attempted to string combinations together.
The American fighter was the first to successfully land a combo, blocking a head kick thrown by Barboza before stringing together a punching combination that landed clean and forced Barboza to the cage, before landing stiff uppercuts from the clinch.
The Brazilian was able to regain his composure though and threw a stiff left hook followed by a knee that caused Gaethje to try to embrace Barboza in a clinch, before Barboza twisted out of it.
The fight quickly resumed with Gaethje trying to clip Barboza’s kicks with his punches, before both men started trading shots, with Barboza being forced back again before using his lateral movement to get out of Gaethje’s range.
“The Highlight Reel” would pick up on how Barboza would move to his left hand side though, and when going forward again, Barboza tried circling to his left again, only to be collected by a big overhand right from Gaethje that knocked him out cold at the half way mark of the first round.
What’s next for Justin Gaethje? I personally believe with another win Gaethje ould get back into the lightweight title picture, especially if Poirier was to win the interim belt aginst Max Holloway, which would set up Poirier vs Gaethje 2.
His next fight could be against Paul Felder, who called out and asked for his next fight to be against the winner of Gaethje vs Barboza, or against another exciting fighter, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, which has “Fight of the Decade” potential in my eyes.
Honourable mention this week go to Daniel Strauss, who returned to the Bellator cage after almost two years, following a horrific accident that left him almost paralysed, winning against Shane Krutchen via submission, and to Jack Hermansson and Josh Emmett who both picked up finishes at UFC Philadelphia.