Justin Gaethje met all expectations with a Fight of the Year candidate against Michael Johnson in the TUF 25 Finale main event.
Justin Gaethje landed a leg kick to kick off the TUF 25 Finale main event, then Michael Johnson popped him with a pair of left hands. As expected Gaethje came right back and fired away. Gaethje was diligent to not forget his leg kicks as they were exchanging, and a right hand landed for Gaethje, then the former WSOF champ landed a hard knee to the head.
Johnson was not given a break by Gaethje, as he kept coming forward. A hard left landed for Johnson and the brawl continued. Gaethje grabbed the guard of Johnson, pulled his hands down with his left hand and hit Johnson with the right.
Several exchanges later, Johnson went with a body head combo and rocked Gaethje with a beautiful uppercut. Johnson chased and took Gaethje down, and somehow the newcomer survived to see another round.
Round two started with the same furious pace as round one, with Gaethje landing a right hand early. Gaethje went back to his leg kicks early, and Johnson went to the body with several punches. Johnson landed his piston-like left hand and rocked Gaethje again. Johnson pressed forward but again the chin of Gaethje stayed strong.
Johnson continued to mix up his punches to the body and head, and Gaethje continued to walk forward. Gaethje seemed to start landing more consistently with his right hand even after getting rocked twice.
Gaethje pressed forward and landed a short right uppercut that rocked Johnson. Gaethje pushed him up against the fence, landed shots, and let Johnson fall. Gaethje walked away and waved him up.
Johnson stood up, and Gaethje landed a right that sent Johnson back to the fence. Gaethje followed with a flying knee that dropped Johnson and that was that. Justin Gaethje made his UFC debut in the loudest way possible.