When the UFC first began putting fight cards on mainstream television, it would often promote fighters with an elevated excitement factor, especially dynamic strikers. And as the UFC puts on its second event on ESPN in prime time, it has paired two of the most violent strikers the lightweight division has to offer, for what could be one of the largest live TV audiences ever for the sport. And the casual or first-time MMA observer is guaranteed to witness one thing this Saturday in the main event: ferocious leg kicks.
Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje isn't a fight with immediate title implications given the crowded (and somewhat confusing) championship picture for that division. But the winner will advance in the rankings and at least become part of that conversation.
The Brazilian opened as a mild betting favorite and saw some early support, but has since seen the line drop back closer to a pick 'em matchup. The American Gaethje is still the underdog, although just barely -- and there's still plenty of time for that betting line to evolve as the fight approaches.