When Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje were finally due to meet in the Octagon, UFC fans knew they were going to be in for a treat. The two lightweight weights delivered in huge fashion to kick off the main card for UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the end, Gaethje secured a unanimous decision victory, but not for 15 minutes of violence that will become one of the greatest fights in UFC history.
Chandler repeatedly landed massive shots in the first round, even tripping Gaethje with heavy right hands. As Gaethje found himself struggling in the first round, he was laying the groundwork for his eventual victory, landing a constant stream of lightning kicks on Chandler’s left leg.
In the second round, Gaethje let down Chandler with a perfect right chin uppercut. Somehow, Chandler managed to survive the ensuing assault and get back on his feet. Chandler started throwing his own bombs again moments later, showing that he was still very much engaged in the fight.
The two-way brutality continued throughout the third round, with both men landing sharp punches and Chandler hollowing out the body with hooks as Gaethje continued to hammer the legs. Somehow, Gaethje and Chandler managed to make their way to the judges’ scoreboards.
The final scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, all for Gaethje, who likely won a stroke over the winner of the upcoming lightweight championship fight between champion Charles Oliveira and challenger Dustin Poirier.
After the fight, former interim lightweight champion Gaethje had nothing but compliments for Chandler.
“I knew exactly what this mother was,” Gaethje said. “He’s a warrior and we’re living in bad times. He and I should have fought to the death in a colosseum.”
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