'The god of violence does it again': Justin Gaethje KOs Edson Barboza at UFC Philadelphia
Gaethje's clash with Barboza formed the main event matchup and more than delivered on the pre-fight hype, as both men stood and traded punishing strikes throughout a breathless opening round.
Both fighters connected with a succession of painful-looking leg kicks as they looked to establish superiority with their kicking techniques while also reducing their opponent's mobility.
But it was Gaethje's decision to step inside and unload punches that proved the decisive factor in the contest.
The American twice rocked the Brazilian with stiff shots before eventually catching Barboza flush on the chin as he looked to circle away from Gaethje's punching range.
The shot knocked out Barboza instantly as the crowd in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia exploded in celebration.
And social media exploded similarly, with fans and media alike gushing in their praise of Gaethje's violent handiwork.
American MMA journalist Marc Raimondi exclaimed: "The god of violence does it again," while Canadian scribe E. Spencer Kyte offered: "Justin Gaethje is the most entertaining fighter in the UFC and it's not even close."
The god of violence does it again. Justin Gaethje sparks Edson Barboza in the first. #UFCPhiladelphia— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) March 31, 2019
Justin Gaethje is the most entertaining fighter in the UFC and it's not even close.— E. Spencer Kyte (@spencerkyte) March 31, 2019
English MMA writer Simon Head said Gaethje's KO eclipsed the stunning finish from Josh Emmett earlier in the night, tweeting: "Gaethje sees Emmett’s KO, then raises him. Unbelievable KO from the most appropriately-nicknamed man in MMA, ‘The Highlight,'" and US MMA columnist Ben Fowlkes stated simply: "My god, Justin Gaethje is just so damn much fun to watch."
Gaethje sees Emmett’s KO, then raises him. Unbelievable KO from the most appropriately-nicknamed man in MMA, ‘The Highlight’. #UFCPhiladelphia— Simon Head (@simonhead) March 31, 2019
My god, Justin Gaethje is just so damn much fun to watch.— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) March 31, 2019
Barboza is respected as one of the most dangerous strikers in UFC history, but Gaethje's sheer force of will, coupled with his own powerful strikes, has made him one of the most entertaining fighters to watch in the UFC.
And the man known to his fans as "The Highlight" delivered the goods with his latest highlight-reel moment.
It left many wondering just how you go about beating a man like Gaethje, who seems totally nerveless inside the cage and has the toughness and ability to walk through pain and land fight-ending strikes to finish the best in the world.
Fellow UFC lightweight Paul Felder was on the ESPN panel for the event, and offered his simple take: "I think you've gotta be a psychopath..."
He might just be right.Also on rt.com The late show: Scotland's Paul Craig leaves it late to claim submission win at UFC Philadelphia