July 6, 2017

The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale: UFC Fans, Get Ready For Justin Gaethje

By Adam Martin

One of the most exciting fighters in the game today will finally make his UFC debut this Friday night at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale when former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje fights Michael Johnson. The card takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Gaethje vs. Johnson will be featured as the five-round main event.

This will be Gaethje’s introduction fight to fans who didn’t watch him fight in WSOF before it folded, the promotion where the Colorado-based fighter became a star. In the World Series of Fighting, the 28 year old went 10-0 with nine knockouts, including five title defenses. His list of victories includes former UFC fighters Melvin Guillard, Dan Lauzon, Brian Cobb, and Brian Foster. Obviously those aren’t the best fighters at 155 in the world, but it was the way that Gaethje beat them that was impressive, as he dominated everyone in WSOF. There’s a reason they call this man “The Highlight.”

All told, Gaethje is 17-0 since starting his career as a professional mixed martial artist in 2011, with fifteen of those wins coming via knockout or submission. He has destroyed pretty much everyone in his way so far, and he absolutely has the potential to be a UFC champion with his skillset. This guy is an absolute beast, and UFC fans should be happy that WME-IMG opened up their wallets to sign him during a time when the budget is being cut by the new ownership group.

While Gaethje has predominantly used his striking and knockout power to win fights, the really interesting thing about him is that he actually comes from a wrestling background, having had success as as NCAA Division I Wrestler at the University of Northern Colorado. But he really hasn’t used his wrestling skills in his MMA fights so far, instead relying on his ability to swarm and his iron chin to take out his opponents in all-out wars. That makes him a dangerous fighter because he can always revert to his wrestling if things don’t go well on the feet for him.

And honestly, as much as it’s fun to watch Gaethje bite down on his mouthpiece and chuck bombs, his defense will eventually let him down. Gaethje himself even admitted when he was signed to the UFC that he will eventually be knocked out and he knows it’s inevitable considering his fighting style. That’s why this fight against Johnson is so interesting, because Johnson is a really smart striker with knockout power, as he showed a few fights ago in his KO win over Dustin Poirier. Although he’s only 1-3 over his last four fights, Johnson represents a significant step up in competition for Gaethje, and that’s what makes this fight intriguing on paper. It’s simply a tremendous fight between two of the best lightweight fighters in the world.

Justin Gaethje was a great signing by the UFC. He has an exciting fighting style that hardcore MMA fans have come to love, and UFC fans who haven’t seen him fight before will really enjoy watching him compete. The UFC lightweight division is arguably the best, most-stacked weight class in the sport today, and Gaethje represents a promising, exciting newcomer with the potential to hold gold one day. At a time when the UFC is cutting costs and letting fighters go to Bellator, Gaethje chose to take the UFC’s offer, and the UFC is paying him what he deserves. The promotion is expecting him to come in immediately and be ready to compete for the title. Fight fans, get jacked for this Friday when “The Highlight” makes his debut.

The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale: Johnson vs. Gaethje takes place July 7, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think the TUF 25 Finale will be.

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