Whenever Justin Gaethje slings the leather, violence tends to follow.
The former World Series of Fighting titleholder re-established himself as a prominent player in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division, as he cut down James Vick with a clubbing right hand in the UFC Fight Night 135 headliner on Aug. 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. Vick, who entered the cage on a four-fight winning streak kissed the canvas just 87 seconds into Round 1, having been victimized in one of the most unsettling knockouts of 2018.
Those who expected Gaethje to fade into the background following consecutive losses to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez were forced to pump the brakes on their rhetoric. It marked the seventh first-round finish of the Safford, Arizona, native’s career and pushed him to No. 6 in the latest Sherdog.com divisional rankings. Vick, meanwhile, falls to 10th on the lightweight list.
Gaethje was not the only wave maker present in Cornhusker country. Undefeated Brazilian flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo put away John Moraga with second-round punches, improved to 15-0 and announced his arrival as a serious threat at 125 pounds. The 30-year-old has rattled off four straight wins since joining the UFC roster a little more than a year ago, three of them finishes. Figueiredo debuts at No. 8 in the updated flyweight rankings, while Moraga slips to ninth.
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