The UFC will make its Pennsylvania debut Saturday when top lightweight contenders Edson “Junior” Barboza and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje square off in a possible fight-of-the-year candidate in the main event.
Barboza, currently ranked No. 6, is coming off a dominant win over Dan “The Hangman” Hooker. Barbosa (20-6) is best known for his highlight-reel knockouts, especially his spinning wheel kick knockout on Terry Etim in January 2012. Barboza is the only fighter in UFC history to have knockout victories by a head kick, body punch, body kick, leg kicks and flying knee. Barboza’s seven knockout victories in the UFC are tied for the most in the lightweight division.
Gaethje, currently ranked No. 7, is coming off a first-round knockout over James “The Texecutioner” Vick in August 2018. Gaethje (19-2) has only fought four times in the UFC but has earned himself five fight-night bonuses. Each fight-night bonus is $50,000.
Gaethje made his UFC debut in July 2017 against Michael “The Menace” Johnson and won by second-round TKO, and the fight won fight of the year by many MMA outlets. Gaethje’s only two losses have been in the UFC by Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, both by TKO/knockout. Gaethje will be looking to continue his momentum Saturday.
In the co-main event, David Branch will be taking on Sweden’s own Jack “The Joker” Hermansson in the middleweight division.
Branch, currently ranked No. 11, is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Jared Cannonier at UFC 230 this past November. Branch (22-5) made his UFC debut at UFC 116 and went 2-2 in the promotion. He was released after losing to Rousimar Palhares by second-round submission.
Branch fought in various promotions, and even became a double champion for the World Series of Fighting by winning their middleweight and light heavyweight titles before re-signing to the UFC in February 2017. Branch will be looking to rebound from a recent loss this Saturday.
Hermansson (18-4) will be looking to enter the UFC middleweight rankings with a win over Branch. Hermansson is coming off a first-round submission win over Gerald Meerschaert this past December. Hermansson made his UFC debut in September 2016 against Scott Askham and won by unanimous decision. So far, Hermansson is 5-2 in his UFC career and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This is a fight you should pay close attention to.
Watch all of the amazing fights this Saturday on ESPN!