Justin Gaethje marked his UFC debut with a bang tonight at the TUF 25 Finale, getting rocked several times by Michael Johnson early in the fight before turning the screw and badly hurting his opponent, leading to the TKO stoppage late in the second round.
The main event of the evening is underway in las Vegas!
Johnson with an early body punch. Now he lands a couple of big punches to the head that send Gathje reeling backwards.
Johnson continuing to apply pressure, matching what’s expected to be an agressive Gaethje with heavy offense of his own early.
Again Johnson unleashes. Gaethje seems indifferent to it all though and continues moving forward and then lands a series of strikes himself that definitely catches Johnson’s attenion.
Gaethje working leg kicks. Johnson with a punch to the body. Another hard leg kick from Gaethje. Punches to the head from Johnson. More nasty leg kicks from the former WSOF lightweight champion Gaethje.
Both men trading heavy leather at cloes range and Johnson eats a big left hook in there. Gaethje with more big leg kicks. Johnson drills Gaethje with a series of punches, but he covers up to block most of those.
Relentless kicking game from Gaethje. Two hard right hands for Gaethje. He reaches for the thai clinch and lands a couple of hard knees upstairs.
Uppercuts for Johnson land on Gaethje’s guard and then he responds with a leg kick. Leg kick for Geathje, Johnson with a shovel hook that buckles Geathje’s legs, but he stays upright!
Johnson backs Gaethje up to the cage and is unleashing all kinds of offense and has him in trouble, but he makes it to the second round.
Johnson punches to the body. Gaethje lands a leg kick. Vicious hooks from Johnson are blocked. Quick hands from Johnson and then backs away.
Leg kick for Gaethje. More come. Body punch for Johnson. Nasty hook for Johnson and Gaethje is wobbled. It’s hard to know how Gaethje is still standing, but Johnson goes into the clinch which seems like a mistake and gives him time to recover.
Back to striking range they go and Johnson is landing hard to the body. Gaethje with leg kicks. He’s trying for hooks but just coming up short.
leg kick for Johnson. Now punches to the body. Leg kick for Gaethje. Geathje with some labored punches. Nice knee to the body from Gaethje.
Hard uppercut from Gaethje and now it’s Johnson who’s badly hurt and staggering to the cage. Gaethje rattles him with more strikes and Johnson is having to work hard just to stay upright.
Gaethje still targeting the legs too. Johnson falls to the mat, but Gaethje wants him to stand back up. Johnson struggles back up and gets blasted again. Johnson’s legs aren’t fully under him and he’s soon back on the floor again.
Again Johnson is forced to stand, and again Gaethje is all over him, blasting some big knees upstairs and Johnson slumps to the mat against the cage. He’s had enough and the ref stops this crazy war – Gaethje wins by TKO at 4.48mins of the second round!
What an absolutely crazy fight. Gaethje is known for his do or die approach and he’s now proven he can still do it and come out on top against a high level of opposition, which will make him an instant favorite for Dana White and co.