Gaethje ends rivalry with Vick after first-round finish


Justin Gaethje said that James Vick wasn’t on his level and that he was going to make him pay for all the trash he talked leading into their main event showdown on Saturday night in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Just over a minute into the opening round, Gaethje backed Vick into the fence and after going high with a left hook, he came over the top with a looping right hand that landed flush and toppled the towering Texan. Vick was out the instant the punch connected and crashed to the canvas in a heap, while Gaethje darted across the cage to perform his customary backflip off the top of the Octagon in celebration.

This was a devastating return to form for Gaethje, who had been on the business end of a pair of punishing stoppages over his last two outings. One of the most exciting action fighters in the sport, the 29-year-old Gaethje moved to 19-2 with 17 stoppages, solidifying his place in the lightweight Top 10 in the process.

For Vick, this was the opportunity he coveted – a main event assignment against a legitimate Top 10 opponent – but unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere close to how he planned. Saturday’s knockout loss halted his four-fight winning streak in a hurry and drops the 31-year-old to 13-2 overall.

If there was every any question as to why Gaethje was still headlining after two straight losses, the man with one of the most accurate nicknames in all of MMA – “The Highlight” – showed why, closing out the show in spectacular fashion.

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