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Justin Gaethje Put On A Show With His Win Over Michael Chandler At UFC 268

Justin Gaethje (23-3) wasted no time getting after it in the opening fight of the main card Saturday night at UFC 268 from Madison Square Garden in New York with a decision victory over Michael Chandler (22-7).

The duo came out swinging, throwing a whole lot of power behind their shots, teeing away with blows to the head and sweltering leg kicks. Late in the first, Chandler hurt Gaethje with a flying knee and a flurry of punches before Gaethje answered with a leg rattling counter.

Both fighters were clearly compromised after a full five minutes of nasty lead leg kicks, but Chandler didn’t slow to open the second. Gaethje answered, walking Chandler backward with a big uppercut and a hook that sent Chandler on his back. Gaethje tried to finish the fight on the ground, but Chandler was able to scramble out of danger.

In the third, Gaethje went back to the leg, but Chandler kept moving forward. Chandler swept in for a takedown, tossed Gaethje on his head, but Gaethje scrambled and found his way to Chandler’s back. Gaethje rocked Chandler with shot after shot, but Chandler dropped his hands and kept moving forward.

Coming off a decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gaethje appears to have moved back into the No. 1 contender spot for the lightweight belt with his victory. Chandler will go back to the drawing board with two consecutive defeats now following his knockout loss to the current champion, Charles Oliveira, in May.