UFC Philadelphia: Edson Barboza vs Justin Gaethje preview

The UFC returns to Philadelphia for the second time with a five round war between two of the lightweight’s most explosive fighters.

The top of the lightweight division in the UFC had been in danger of being held up due to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s suspension, Conor McGregor’s supposed retirement and the confusion surrounding Tony Ferguson.

However, with Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier due to fight for the interim 155lbs strap next month, the muddied picture is becoming slightly clearer and when #6 Edson Barboza (20-6) and #8 Justin Gaethje (19-2) collide on Saturday night, there could very well be a contender in waiting.

GAETHJE LOOKING FOR ‘HIGHLIGHT’ REEL PERFORMANCE

Since coming over from WSOF to the UFC, Gaethje has gone 2-2 and incredibly has more post fight bonuses than victories inside the Octagon. However, in his last fight against James Vick “The Highlight” made quick work of James Vick with a stunning knock out.

Gaethje is now looking to continue his winning ways against a tricky Barboza but the 30 year old is a fearless fighter who has no issues in pushing forward and trying to catch Barboza napping.

BARBOZA BACK ON TRACK

After losing out to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Barboza suffered defeat to Kevin Lee via doctor stoppage in his follow up fight but a big body shot to dispatch Daniel Hooker reminded many fans and pundits what Edson Barboza is capable of.

There has been times when Barboza has forgotten what makes him so dangerous to opponents. Wild spinning kicks and striking are likely to be the name of the game as Barboza finds faith in his technique.

Also looking to make it two wins from two, Barboza knows that a big performance could shoot him up the ladder for a potential title shot if things fall into place for him.

THE STYLE

Usually this section would go into a full technical breakdown of what each fighter is capable of but if you’ve been paying attention to mixed martial arts and the UFC, you will know that this fight screams, “VIOLENCE”.

Two wild fighters who love to throw hell for leather and can run through opponents at any moment.

In Gaethje you’ve got a crazy brawler who doesn’t know any other style but to push forward and wing punches until he gets a finish or is finished.

Barboza may just be a little more conservative in his approach at times but when he sets up kicks and punches, he sets them up with accuracy and more often than not, when he lands, he finishes.

There is absolutely no way on earth that this fight is going to be dull. We could be treated to an instant classic that already has ‘fight of the year’ potential without the two men even stepping into the cage.

UFC Philadelphia main card begins on BT Sport from 11pm on Saturday night

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