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Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler to kick off UFC 268 main card on pay-per-view

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC 268 pay-per-view will kick off with one of the most highly anticipated fights on the entire card.

Lightweights Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler will clash in the first fight of the night on the main card with the event set to begin at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

UFC officials confirmed the bout order to MMA Fighting on Wednesday following an initial report from Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

There’s no specific reason for the change other than starting UFC 268 off with a bang as Gaethje and Chandler would appear to be guaranteed fireworks.

Through just eight bouts with the UFC, Gaethje has earned a whopping nine post fight bonuses including five awards for Fight of the Night. With 19 knockouts in his 22 wins, it’s easy to understand why Gaethje is often called the human highlight reel.

Meanwhile, Chandler will only be fighting for the UFC for the third time on Saturday but his first two appearances have both resulted in memorable performances. He made his debut back in January where he needed less than three minutes to earn a knockout over Dan Hooker to introduce himself to UFC fans after a long career spent in Bellator MMA.

He followed that up in May with a back-and-forth battle against Charles Oliveira to crown a new UFC lightweight champion. While he came up short that night, Chandler still managed to put Oliveira down early and nearly earn a first round finish before the Brazilian stormed back in the second round.

Now Chandler will seek to put on another entertaining performance while facing off with Gaethje in the lead fight on the UFC 268 main card. The event will also feature two title fight rematches at the top of the card as Kamaru Usman faces Colby Covington and Rose Namajunas meets Zhang Weili for a second time.