Last night, on the main card of the stacked UFC 218, former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez stepped into the Octagon with former World Series of Fighting lightweight champ Justin Gaethje.
In the lead up to UFC 218, this card was widely regarded as a frontrunner for Fight of the Night, Fight of the Month – even Fight of the Year honors. And when the cage door closed on these two veritable saints of bloodshed, the fight delivered. For two and a half frenzied rounds, Alvarez and Gaethje swapped heavy artillery, battering one another into black and blue mush. Eventually, however, Alvarez landed the shot that mattered, putting his incredibly durable foe down with a rocket-fuelled knee to the face in the third round.
Just like that, Alvarez had won, and Gaethje had tasted his first bitter swallow of defeat. In a fight like Alvarez vs. Gaethje, though, there are no real losers. When heart and grit are displayed in such immeasurable quantity, nobody’s stock takes much of a hit. Alvarez, who has been involved in some of MMA’s most legendary brawls, knows this to be true.
Post-fight, the former UFC champ took to Twitter to congratulate Gaethje on his toughness, and assure him that they were both winners. In fact, Alvarez even called Gaethje “the toughest son of a bitch” he’s ever fought.
See Alvarez’s epic compliment below:
Your the toughest son of bitch I ever fought @Justin_Gaethje , takes two to tango brother .. We Won !!!
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) December 3, 2017
Prior to this loss, Justin Gaethje debuted in the UFC’s Octagon with a thrilling stoppage defeat of the ever dangerous Michael Johnson. Other highlights of his resume include riveting wins over Luiz Firmino, Brian Foster, Luis Palomino (twice), Melvin Guillard, Dan Lauzon, Gesias Cavalcante and Drew Fickett.
Eddie Alvarez, meanwhile, last fought in May when he battled Dustin Poirier to a disappointing no contest. In his next most recent fight, he surrendered the UFC lightweight title to current champion Conor McGregor, losing by second-round knockout.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/12/2017.