When Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje were finally set to meet in the Octagon, UFC fans knew they were in for a treat. The two lightweights delivered in a huge way to kick off the main card of UFC 268 from Madison Square Garden in New York City. In the end, Gaethje edged out a unanimous decision victory but not before 15 minutes of violence that will go down as one of the all-time great fights in UFC history.
Chandler repeatedly landed massive shots in the first round, even stumbling Gaethje badly with heavy right hands. While Gaethje found himself in trouble in the opening round, he was laying the foundation for his eventual victory, landing a steady stream of blistering kicks to Chandler's lead left leg.
In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler with a perfect right uppercut to the chin. Somehow, Chandler managed to survive the ensuing onslaught and work his way back to the feet. Chandler resumed throwing his own bombs moments later, showing he was still very much in the fight.
The two-way brutality continued through the third round with both men landing clean punches and Chandler digging to the body with hooks while Gaethje continued to hammer the legs. Somehow, Gaethje and Chandler managed to fight their way to the judges' scorecards.
The final scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, all for Gaethje, who likely earned a shot at 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 that motherf---er was," Gaethje said. "He is a warrior and we are living in the wrong times. Me and him should have been fighting to the death in a coliseum."
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