Eddie Alvarez was an indie darling that endeared hardcore MMA fans with his resilience and scrappy style. Justin Gaethje caught the eye of the combat sports world with his toughness and non-stop offense.
When the UFC announced in July they would face off at UFC 218, it's no surprise that the first reaction was unrestrained hype.
On Saturday night, the two threw down in a contest that lived up to the excitement. For two rounds, Alvarez stung Gaethje with hard body punches while Gaethje soldiered forward and hammered Alvarez's legs with kicks.
In the final frame, it seemed like Gaethje was set to seal the deal as the former UFC champ struggled to keep his legs underneath him.
That changed in an instant, however, when Alvarez flattened Gaethje with a knee at 3:59 of the third round. Check it out above.
UFC 218 gave Alvarez a critical win in the super-competitive lightweight division. The victory helps to exorcise some of the ghosts from his UFC 205 loss to Conor McGregor and helps restart his path back to the title. If he can post another big win, he might have the opportunity to retake gold in 2018.