Justin Gaethje (#8) knocked out Edson Barboza (#6) in the first round in the main event of UFC on ESPN 2, capping off an exciting card from top to bottom.
Gaethje and Barboza both lived up to expectations, as the two were engaged in violent combat from the beginning of the fight. Despite only lasting two minutes and thirty seconds, both fighters were able to land heavy damage to the opponent. Barboza was able to land 13 of 32 attempted strikes, six of which were significant shots to the head. Gaethje was able to land more than double the head shots, as he was able to get off 13 significant head strikes, ultimately ending his opponent with a knockout overhand right.
The victory is the second in a row for Gaethje, who is expected to jump at least one spot in the rankings. The most likely opponent up next for Gaethje is the winner of the fight between Al Iaquinta and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on May 4th.
Main Card Results:
Jack Hermansson def. David Branch (Submission – Round 1)
Jack Hermansson was able to submit David Branch in under a minute in the very first round, giving Hermansson his third win in a row in the middleweight division.
Josh Emmett def Michael Johnson (Knockout – Round 3)
Josh Emmett was able to overcome a tough second round, knocking out Michael Johnson with under a minute left in the fight. Emmett connected with a haymaker of a right hand, knocking Johnson out cold, moving Emmett’s record to an impressive 14-2.
Michelle Waterson def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (Unanimous Decision)
Michelle Waterson put on a show for the crowd in Philadelphia on Saturday night. “The Karate Hottie” was able to pick apart Kowalkiewicz, landing 82 total shots, and completing the only two takedowns of the fight. With her victory, Waterson has to be considered as one of the most deserving of the next title shot in the Strawweight division.
Paul Craig def. Kennedy Nzechukwu (Submission – Round 3)
Paul Craig was able to submit the previously undefeated Kennedy Nzechukwu in the third and final round. Nzechukwu was likely winning the fight by the judges scorecards, as he was out-striking Craig by a total of 47 to 31.
Sodiq Yusuff def Sheymon Moraes (Decision)
In what many considered the fight of the night, Sodiq Yusuff was able to edge Sheymon Moraes on the scorecards. The fight was a technical masterclass. Both fighters showed tremendous poise and technique, with a late knockdown by Yusuff likely representing the difference maker in this fight.