It was announced as an unmissable shooting to determine the most violent man in the sport. He delivered.
Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje stuck together in a brutal battle that seemed, against all odds, that you could actually see the scorecards. But near the last minute of the final round, Alvarez's knee (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) put Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) down, and a couple more punches brought the stoppage of TKO at the 3:59 mark of Round 3.
The lightweight fight was part of the main card of today's UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It was issued on PPV following the prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pbad.
Twitter reacts to the victory of Eddie Alvarez in a brutal war with Justin Gaethje in UFC 218
Instead of running through the doors, this was a war that gradually increased in intensity with the pbadage of time. Gaethje had a good start with the help of his low kicks, which seemed to affect Alvarez at times but without hampering his general mobility.
But before the first round was over, Alvarez managed to fire back with some hard body shots that seemed to slow Gaethje, who soon found himself swaying and missing in an increasingly elusive Álvarez.
The pace continued to increase in the second, with both men landing solid uppercuts on their feet, and with the defense seemingly less and less a priority. At the end of the round, Alvarez would return to his corner with his mouth very swollen, while Gaethje seemed to feel the effects of the body more and more.
The action reached a high point in the final draw, and Gaethje was reiterated in his low kick strategy, cutting Alvarez's legs under him. But Alvarez kept firing backwards, and with Gaethje that seemed to fade a bit, a knee in Álvarez's face finally sent him to the limit, dropping Gaethje in slow motion, facing forward.
Alvarez paused long enough to pose with his fists in the air, then added a couple more punches while Gaethje, dizzy, was desperately looking for his leg. Finally, referee Herb Dean decided he had seen enough and entered to cancel it.
For Álvarez, the victory is the first since the 2016 victory over Rafael dos Anjos that earned him the UFC lightweight title. The loss of Gaethje is the first of his professional career.
The latest UFC 218 results include:
- Def. Eddie Alvarez Justin Gaethje by knockout (knee, punches) – Round 3, 3:59
- Def. Tecia Torres Michelle Waterson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Paul Felder def. Charles Oliveira by knockout (strikes) – Round 2, 4:06
- Yancy Medeiros def. Alex Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:02
- David Teymur def. Drakkar Klose by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Felice Herrig def. Cortney Casey by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Amanda Cooper def. Angela Magana via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:34
- Abdul Razak Alhbadan def. Sabah Homasi via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:21
- Dominick Reyes def. Jeremy Kimball through submission (bad rear choke) – Round 1, 3:39
- Justin Willis def. Allen Crowder by knockout (beats) – Round 1, 2:33
For full coverage of UFC 218, see the UFC Events section of the site.
(Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn of MMAjunkie contributed to this report on the site in Detroit.)