Eddie Alvarez emerged victorious via a spectacular third round TKO against Justin Gaethje tonight at UFC 218, but both fighters deserve tremendous credit for their warrior spirits in this grueling battle.
Hard leg kick for Gaethje and another. Alvarez looking for punches in return. They exchange close in and Gaethje lands a couple of hooks. Uppercut from Alvarez. More leg kicks from Gaethje.
Two hooks and a leg kick from Gaethje. One-two for Alvarez that’s largely blocked. Swings and misses from Gaethje. Kick for Gaethje is caught by Alvarez who shoves him off-balance.
Gaethje with a body punch. jab for Alvarez. Another leg kick for Gaethje thats already noticeably affecting Alvarez. leg kick for Alvarez is checked.
Gaethje just short with a bombing right hand. Another vicious leg kick for Gaethje. Uppercut attempts from Alvarez land on Gaethje’s high guard.
Leg kick for Gaethje is caught and Alvarez gets him down from it, but he gets right back up. Body work from Alvarez. Again to the body. Uppercut misses for Gaethje.
Gathje with a cut near his left eye. Body kick for Gaethje is partially blocked. Alvarez with the uppercut and a solid hook. solid punches for Gaethje in response now.
Alvarez works to the body and then lands upstairs too. Gaethje didn’t llike thet work to the midsection. Unfortunately for him more comes from Alvarez and then he lands to the head again. Deep breath from Gaethje.
Gaethje with the leg kick. Alvarez with a somersault kick, but it doesn’t connect and Gaethje gets on top and lands a few ground and pound strikes as the round ends.
Leg kick for Alvarez to start. Gaethje fires off in response. Leg kick for Gaethje and a hook connects to the chin from Alvarez.
Leg kick to the thigh from Alvarez. Jab for Gaethje. Uppercut for Alvarez. Leg kick and a jab for Gaethje. Solid right hand from Alvarez as he darts into range.
Right hook from Gaethje and then a couple more punches. Solid left from Alvarez. Upercut from Gaethje lands clean. Alvarez with two of his own.
Alvarez with a couple of jabs and a knee to the body. left hook for Gaethje then a chopping hook.
Left hook for Gaethje and Body work from Alvarez. Leg kick for Gaetje. Knee to the body for Gaethje. Uppercut for Alvarez. Into teh clinch and a knee from Alvarez.
Uppercut from Gaethje. Solid body shots and then going to the head from the former champion Alvarez. In close they start exchanging hooks. Leg kick from Gaethje. Short uppercut series from Alvarez. Kene to the body for Gaethje. Uppercut for Alvarez and a hook just misses for Gaethje.
Gaethje with a right hand. left hook for Alvarez. Now a leg kick. Solid leg kick for Alvarez. Body punches connect for Alvarez. Now a knee.
Gaethje bundled to the mat by Alvarez and as he stands he eats a kick to the head, but comes back with a flying knee as the round ends.
Alvarez has a huge swelling on is cheek near his mouth on the right side from an earlier strike in the round.
Front kicks and punches to the head for Alvarez. They exchange jabs. Hard leg kick for Gaethje and then another one. Right hand for Gaethje. Back to the leg kick.
Uppercuts for Alvarez. CHopping leg kick once again and then Alvarez attempts to pull guard and flops to his back, a sign that those leg kicks are taking their toll.
Back up he’s forced to go and Alvarez lands another leg kick. In the clinch ALvarez lands to the body again. Gaethje with kick to the body and then to the leg again. Then goes lower to the leg this time.
Alvarez able to switch around to Gaethje’s back and takes him down, but Gaethje gets quickly back up and lands more leg kicks. Uppercut from Gaethje.
Couple of punches for Alvarez. Gaethje with a leg kick that knocks him off his feet momentarily but he stands. Back in the clinch and Alvarez finds a home for an uppercut.
Into the clinch once more from Alvarez. He keeps driving forward, but eats a couple of uppercuts. Out of nowhere Alvarez suddenly launches a knee upstairs and it rocks Gaethje badly and he slumps to the mat.
Gaethje is so tough that the ref gives him a few seconds to recover, but he’s only weakly trying to reach for a leg and the ref steps in to end the fight as Gaethje flops back to the mat at 3.59mins of the third round.
A terrific TKO finish for Alvarez then and that will go a long way to helping his push back towards title contention, while Gaethje will only have enhanced his reputation as a crowd-pleaser with his performance too.
Both men are going to need some time on the sidelines after that war though!