Fighters Describe What Leg Kicks Feel Like From Edson Barboza & Justin Gaethje



Rafaello Oliveira could not continue. Midway through the second round of his fight with Edson Barboza in 2013, he had taken 23 strikes to his left leg. His body crumpled to the mat on the final shot, forcing referee Herb Dean to end the bout early.


"That is one of the nastiest visions of damage from leg kicks that I can remember in a long time," UFC commentator Joe Rogan said on the broadcast. "That kid is a monster."


Oliveira was transported to a hospital after the matchup and was given morphine -- twice -- to help with his injury.


"I could barely walk [that night]," Oliveira remembers six years later. "It was the hardest pain I ever felt as a fighter after a fight."


Barboza's 257 leg kicks in his UFC career are tied for seventh most in history of the promotion. He has four wins by kicks and has a 78 percent leg-kick accuracy.

Justin Gaethje, whom Barboza faces in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Philadelphia on Saturday, is similarly potent. Of his landed significant strikes, 36 percent are to the legs. He has connected on 125 leg kicks in his four-fight UFC career, the most by any fighter over that span.


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