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UFC Philly: Fight Preview

            The city of brotherly love will be the farthest thing from that when the UFC’S octagon takes center stage this Saturday inside the Wells Fargo Center. As two of the lightweight’s best meet in the main event. Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (19-2-0) vs. Edson “JR” Barboza (20-6-0) will bring the excitement and action­ ­– with leg kicks so hard that if either of them landed a leg kick on it, even the liberty bell would suffer another “crack”. Also, Unknown MMA’s Fight to watch will be a featured bout between two fan favorites Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson (16-6-0) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-3-0).

Main Event Preview

Justin Gaethje’s debut in the UFC was under two years ago against Michael Johnson (who is fighting Josh Emmett on this card). The Johnson fight was immediately labeled a “classic” and turned him into must-watch TV. Since his debut victory, he’s gone 1-2 in the UFC (2-2 overall). After hard fought “Fight of the night” loses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, Gaethje got back on track in his most recent fight. At UFC Lincoln, Gaethje landed a devastating over-hand right that knocked James Vick out cold before he hit the canvas. Giving “the highlight” another moment to add to his reel.

A post shared by Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@justin_gaethje) on Mar 25, 2019 at 8:26pm PDT

In short, Gaethje is the kind of fighter that requires some kind of “Viewer discretion is advised” warning prior to his fights. In an interview this week he best described his intent going into every fight is with the thought of going “in there to create car crashes… you’ve got to go in there and prepare your mind, body and soul for what you have to go in there and go through. Both the guys that beat me went through absolute hell.” That line was co-signed by Poirier, who in an article this week came out and said that his quad was torn in the fight with Gaethje due to his tenacious kicks to the leg. Gaethje may not be Rocky Balboa but his “car crash” fighting mentality surely resembles and pays homage to the iconic characters fighting style that put Philadelphia on the fighting map.

A post shared by Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@justin_gaethje) on Jan 22, 2019 at 1:16pm PST

If Gaethje vs. Barboza are to live up to the hype, then maybe we’ll get the MMA version of the historic and memorable bout between The Italian Stallion and Apollo Creed, which took place in Philadelphia. This fight however will have no script and the blood ­– yes, the blood–will be REAL! Who ever comes out victorious may never get a statue built of them (I’m not saying they won’t either) but they will have moved one step forward and like Rocky said, “moving forward – that’s how winning is done”.

Unknown MMA’s Fight to Watch

It wasn’t too long ago when Karolina, who has now been given the nickname the “Polish Princess”, was fighting for a chance at becoming a champion. In 2016 she came up on the wrong end of a decision loss against then champ, Joanna Jendrzejczyk. However, a year after that fight the champ would be dethroned in devastating fashion. With the dethroning of such a dominant champ comes newfound opportunity and if the saying holds true that “opportunity comes knocking when you least expect it”, then “opportunity” better be ready because the two women in this bout will knock that door down.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Michelle Waterson is one of the most exciting match-ups you could make in the strawweight division. To add to it, they are two of the most liked female fighters not only in the division but all of MMA; which makes it difficult to go against one or the other.

A post shared by Karolina Kowalkiewicz Official (@karolinakowalkiewicz) on Mar 27, 2019 at 6:01pm PDT

Whether it’s the fierceness that Michelle Watterson brings into her fights (or her out of this world flexibility that was on full display during her open workouts where she kicked two water bottles off two different heads) or the calmness of Karolina as she simply rests against the cage with her hands behind her back cutting right through the camera (IMO this isn’t the kind of calmness that soothes one but its more of like a calm before the storm type-of stare – basically she is the saying “killing you with kindness”, personified) as Bruce Buffer says her name at the top of his lungs.

A post shared by Michelle Waterson (@karatehottiemma) on Mar 27, 2019 at 11:54am PDT

Karolina has gone on-air this week and let her admiration be known for karate hottie. Adding to that admiration by saying, “Michelle is a great fighter, a great person –she is one of my idols, this is a big honor for me to fight her. And I don’t want to hurt her but I have to.” It’s safe to say that the admiration that Karolina has for Waterson will only exist outside the confines of the octagon because inside of it, it’s business as usual. For Waterson, she finds her fierceness and resilience in her daughter, time after time she has let it be known that she wants to be the first mother to be a champion. A victory at UFC Philadelphia will put Waterson inside the top 5 of her division and possibly as close as she’s ever been at making her goal a reality. On the other hand, Karolina considers Waterson an idol – well sometimes in order to get to where you want to get to, especially in sports, you have to defeat them. With championship aspirations on both of their minds only one will get their hand raised and the other will suffer a setback.

A post shared by Michelle Waterson (@karatehottiemma) on Mar 27, 2019 at 4:52pm PDT

Be sure to tune in to BIG ESPN at 7 pm Eastern time / 6pm Central to catch the main event along with Unknown MMA’s Fight to watch as well as a lot of other interesting match ups including the co-main event with David Branch and a featherweight bout with the always game Michael Johnson (vs. Josh Emmett).

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