Living up to the Name

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Philadelphia-Barboza v GaethjeThere are no guarantees in sports and especially in MMA where from one second to the next anything can change.

The UFC does a great job of hyping up fights but the reality is that they have no idea what is about to happen when they put two people in the same octagon.

It can be the best matchup that anyone has ever seen and yet when the fighters get into the octagon they shy away from the fight that most want to see.

At the end of the day, most of the fighters aren’t going in primarily to make the fans or the FUC happy, they fight to win.

Sometimes this means that when they are about to take on a dangerous fighter they try to avoid the devastating loss.

It is a balancing act between being exciting and making sure that they get the wins they need and so sometimes there are fights that turn out to be boring even if they were supposed to be exciting.

Many were hoping that it wasn’t going to be the case this time around in Philadelphia when the UFC scheduled two fighters who love to win but love to put on a show even more.

Neither Edson Barboza or Justin Gaethje were fighting for a spot in the title picture or really to move up the rankings.

Both have been in the game a long time and both have the style of fighting that keeps them out of the title picture.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t put on a show though as they both built a reputation for going forward and pressuring but with different twists.

Edson Barboza has been fighting in the UFC since 2010 and he made a quick impression with a TKO win due to leg kicks.

His legend only built from there with kicks becoming his calling card and leading to plenty of wins.

He quickly became a fighter that not many wanted to face just to save their legs for future fights.

He was an exciting fighter that was able to end fights in ways that nobody had seen before giving him a big fan base in the UFC.

He refused to take the fight anywhere but the stand-up game and that led to some issues as it does with so many other fighters.

Although he was great he began to lose those key fights that would have put him into title contention leaving him in that middle range of fighters.

He remained exciting but never gained the momentum needed to fight for a title but fans still wanted to see him.

That was evident when it was announced that his next fight would be against Justin Gaethje who could match the style that Barboza wanted to fight.

Gaethje only came into the UFC in 2017 but had been fighting since 2011 and gaining his own reputation.

He was one of the most exciting fighters outside of the UFC and earned a title in World Series of Fighting.

When the WSOF disbanded and rebranded the UFC looked to take on the title holders that could eventually challenge for UFC gold.mma-sidebar.fw

Gaethje was one of those fighters as his nickname “The Highlight” told everyone all they needed to know about him.

His constant pressure and great striking was a surprising style considering he was an All-American wrestler.

Despite his background, he continued to stand and although it was successful in other promotions it never translated to the UFC.

Yet like Barboza people still wanted to see him and although he was not likely to make a title run any time soon he was ready to live up to his nickname once again.

The fight was built as the type of fight that all fans love, a slugfest where two fighters would not back down.

It sure seemed that way as the style of both fighters lent itself to an exciting fight but like so many before it could have easily become a boring fight.

It would be hard to blame Barboza or Gaethje for not wanting to come forward and get caught but that isn’t what happened.

Instead, the fight that most thought was coming took place as scripted and the ending was exactly what people were picturing.

After a few key exchanges between both fighters, it was Gaethje who broke through with a massive right hand.

It put Barboza out in the first round as Gaethje added another highlight to his reel and continued to be one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC.

The title shot is not likely to be next for Gaethje but he will continue to be in high demand after another great end.

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