Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 lived up to its billing as Fight of The Night, with both fighters taking home $50,000 bonuses for throwing it all on the line.
The lightweight bout had been hotly tipped by most MMA fans in the know as a potential barnstormer, and that is exactly what it proved to be.
The fact that Alvarez is a former champion of the division, losing his belt to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden over a year ago, and Gaethje has a reputation built for himself as one of the wildest fighters on the entire roster meant that this matchup had a lot of eyes on it.
Both competitors insisted that their clash, although certainly an almost direct route back to the 155 lbs title, was for the made-up title of the most violent fighter in the UFC.
Gaethje is renowned for throwing caution to the wind in his outings in the Octagon while Eddie was adamant he was adapting a fresh approach in this clash, fighting more on natural instinct rather than overthinking any tactics or gameplay he might usually have.
As it transpired, both 155 lbs contenders threw it all on the line, doing more than enough to impress UFC fans and boss Dana White in order to take home the Fight of The Night bonus. Alvarez came out on top in an all-out war, stopping Gaethje at 3:59 in the third and final round via a devastating knee KO.
The loss was the first of Gaethje’s career.
Check out the battle wounded Underground King’s typically classy post-fight interview, where he gets to the ground to pay his respects to his fallen opponent in the clip below.
With Conor McGregor seemingly on a hiatus from the sport and nobody quite sure when the lightweight champion will return, this leaves the division in quite a state for turmoil. So, where does Saturday night’s performance leave Eddie in the grand scheme of a shot at winning back the strap he formerly held? It remains to be seen.