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Bonus Coverage | UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler

The Fights & Performances That Warranted An Extra $50,000

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler

May 15, 2021 | Toyota Center in Houston, Texas

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Charles Oliveira of Brazil punches Michael Chandler in their UFC lightweight championship bout at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Charles Oliveira of Brazil punches Michael Chandler in their UFC lightweight championship bout at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Fight Of The Night: Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza

When it was announced that Shane Burgos would face Edson Barboza, the fans knew exactly the type of fight they were in for. It was Barboza's explosiveness versus Burgos' toughness, and in the end, the Brazil won the war.

Heading into the third round it was a close fight, one that featured plenty of big moments for both fighters. But Barboza caught Burgos with a right hook to the temple that had a delayed effect, not really causing damage until a few seconds have passed. That's when Burgos stumbled backwards into the cage and Barboza charged in for the finish.

It was an amazing performance and absolutely worthy of FOTN.

Performance Of The Night: Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira is the UFC lightweight champion. 

Let that sink in for a moment. "Do Bronx" became the 11th man to hold the UFC lightweight belt and he did it in spectacular fashion. Oliveira has finished 8 of his last 9 fights, and his second round knockout of Michael Chandler gives him 17 finishes for his UFC career. That's the most in UFC history.

The TKO came after Oliveira faced plenty of adversity from the powerful Michael Chandler and for a moment, it looked as if Chandler was going to walk away from the Toyota Center in Houston with the title. But Oliveira came out strong to start the second round, dropping Chandler right off the bat and finishing him in under 20 seconds.

Congratulations Charles, you earned it.

Performance Of The Night: Christos Giagos

Christos Giagos picked up his second win in a row, submitting Sean Soriano via a D'arce Choke. It was Giagos' first finish victory since 2015 and it came after Soriano came out strong in the opening frame.

Giagos moved to 19-8 with the victory and sets himself to get start a real run in a packed lightweight division.

UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Waterson

May 8, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Gregor Gillespie takes down Diego Ferreira of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Gregor Gillespie takes down Diego Ferreira of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 08, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Fight Of The Night: Deigo Ferreira vs Gregor Gillespie

Ranked lightweights went to war at UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez Vs. Waterson. Both Diego Ferreira and Gregor Gillespie absolutely put the pedal to the metal in the first round of their bout, scrambling and fighting for positions for nearly the entire five minutes.

It was non-stop action and for the most part it seemed as if Ferreira was able to come out in the better position after each scramble. Neither inflicted a ton of damage in the first round but both fighters seemed to empty the tank trying to get the upper hand.

That’s at least how it appeared, but New York’s Gillespie turned on the jets in the second round. Beating Ferreira with his relentless wrestling and his ability to be a step ahead. With time ticking away in the final minute Gillespie overwhelmed Ferreira and starting firing away shots as Ferreira turtled up. That was enough for ref, as he called the fight in the final seconds of round two.

It was a triumphant and emotional moment for Gillespie, who improved to 14-1 and regained his footing in the stacked lightweight division.

Performance Of The Night: Alex Morono

Fighting Donald Cerrone on a week notice is not an easy task, but it’s one that Texas’ Alex Morono couldn’t have been more excited for. Morono opened the fight wasting no time, charging the 37 UFC fight veteran. Morono kept that pace the entire time, pushing the action and walking Cerrone down.

Morono’s deadly right hand continued to find its mark and eventually it sent Cerrone backing up to the fence. That’s when Morono let out a barrage of strikes and knees that busted Cerrone up even worse and forced the referee to call an end to the fight inside of the buzzer.

What a night for Morono, who earns the biggest win of his career and leaves Las Vegas with an extra $50,000 that he plans to use to buy his wife a new car.

Performance Of The Night: Carlston Harris

Earning a bonus in your UFC debut is a power play and it definitely goes a long way in getting you noticed. That’s exactly what Carlston Harris accomplished by securing an anaconda choke submission against Christian Aguliera.

The 33-year-old welterweight became just the 19th UFC fighter to ever complete the submission inside the Octagon.

UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs Prochazka

May 1, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic knocks out Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic knocks out Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Fight Of The Night: Dominick Reyes vs Jiri Prochazka

As advertised, Jiri Prochazka and Dominick Reyes delivered in their high-stakes, heavy-handed chess match to determine the next potential light heavyweight title challenger.

Reyes, making reading Prochazka's unorthodox style and movement look easy, set the pace with the stand-up and ground game early on in the first round, before being tagged with a few hard shots by Prochazka. The two-time title challenger and the Czech engaged in a slugfest before being broken up by the bell at the end of the first round.

Prochazka was humbled by a left hand midway through the second round that eventually led to a guillotine attempt by Reyes. Unfazed by the dangerous position, Prochazka threw some strikes of his own on the ground before returning to the feet and eventually ending the fight by way of a spinning left elbow. In just his second UFC fight, Prochazka extended his professional win streak to 12 in a big way, and his knockout streak to ten.

Performance Of The Night: Giga Chikadze

Georgian fighters were a perfect 2-0 in the Octagon this night when Giga Chikadze joined Merab Dvalishvili in the win column via a short and sweet TKO victory over veteran Cub Swanson. A savage, perfectly-placed kick to the liver started the sequence that would end Swanson’s night, finishing him with some ground-and-pound just over a minute into the fight. His sixth straight win is now good for the third-longest streak in the featherweight division.

Performance Of The Night: Jiri Prochazka

It was only the third spinning back elbow KO in UFC history in only his second trip to the Octagon, and already Jiri Prochazka is hearing his named mentioned as a potential contender for light heavyweight gold. Despite eating any number of shots that would have put away most other opponents, Prochazka was able to drop bombs at will throughout the near two rounds he shared with Dominick Reyes, finding his range early and often. But the elbow that sent Reyes spilling to the canvas is one we’ll see for years to come on UFC “best of” highlight reels…and rightly so.

UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2

April 24, 2021 | VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida

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Rose Namajunas kicks Zhang Weili of China in their UFC women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 261 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. Rose Namajunas kicks Zhang Weili of China in their UFC women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 261 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Nolan Walker)
Rose Namajunas kicks Zhang Weili of China in their UFC women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 261 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Nolan Walker)

Fight Of The Night: Jeffery Molina vs Aoriqileng

A pair of debuting flyweights set a high standard early and each walked away with a Performance Bonus for their 3-round war at UFC 261. 

After Jeffery Molina and Aoriqileng exchanged early, Aoriqileng tallied a takedown. Molina responded quickly and got back to the feet, but Aoriqileng kept the forward pressure heavy. The second frame was more of the same until Molina scored a flash knockdown, and Aoriqileng responded with one of his own. At the end of the round, though, Molina countered a kick with a flush right hand that sat Aoriqileng on the canvas.

In the third, Molina stood his ground more and met forward pressure with his own, getting the best of most of the exchanges en route to scoring a unanimous decision win.

Performance Of The Night: Kamaru Usman

"The Nigerian Nightmare" proved once again why he is the king of the welterweight division. Welcoming Jorge Masvidal to the doorstep once again, Usman took Masvidal's best shots and responded with another dominate title defense, this time via a second-round knockout win. 

Although Masvidal appeared confident in the second round, Usman was the one with the last laugh after connecting with a cracking right hand that dropped Masvidal. The follow-up shots put an end to a memorable night, and Usman once again proved his greatness.

Performance Of The Night: Rose Namajunas

"Thug" Rose Namajunas became the first woman in UFC history to recapture her title, and she did so in stylish and emphatic fashion. Early in the first round, Namajunas threw a front-side leg kick to Zhang Weili's head, dropping the Chinese champion and finishing the fight before it ever really got started.

It was a beautiful finish for Namajunas, who allowed the emotion to pour out from her in the Octagon after the fight. It starts yet another title reign for the 28-year-old, and she seems to be still coming into her prime.

"No matter who my opponents are, I want to defend this as many times as I can," Namajunas said. "But what I really want to do is to use this to build MMA academies in a couple different locations, so that’s the idea and vision that I had this week. I always knew an idea of what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to work it into my career and so that’s my plan, I still have to go hash it out, but that’s my vision."

UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Gastelum

April 17, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Robert Whittaker of Australia punches Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Robert Whittaker of Australia punches Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Fight Of The Night: Robert Whittaker Vs Kelvin Gastelum

Top ten middleweights Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum justified the hype behind their heavily anticipated fight. The two men went the five-round distance, with “The Reaper” controlling the action the entire way.

The former middleweight champion connected with 150 significant strikes, the second most ever landed in a 5-round middleweight fight and the fourth most in the middleweight history overall.

Whittaker’s movement and speed advantage was on clear display as he peppered Gastelum while mixing in some takedowns as well. Gastelum was able to land nearly 75 significant strikes himself, making the contest interesting despite the Whittaker’s impressive performance.

The win was Whittaker’s third in row and a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya seems to be what’s next up for “The Reaper”.

Performance Of The Night: Gerald Meerschaert

Gerald Meerschaert got a much-needed trip to the win column in the most Gerald Meerschaert way ever: by securing a guillotine choke on Bartosz Fabinski just two minutes into the fight.

It was the pride of Wisconsin's sixth UFC submission, a new UFC middleweight record that surpasses the likes of Demian Maia and Thales Leites. The extra cash will no doubt come in handy as the Meerschaert clan plans to welcome a new baby imminently.

"Any day now, I’m going to be a brand new dad so I have to get back and do that. Perfect-case scenario, I get back home, spend some time with the family and hopefully come back one more time before the end of the year."

Performance Of The Night: Tony Gravely

Tony Gravely was ready to make his mark delivering his first finish in The Octagon after knocking out Anthony Birchak.

Known for his wrestling, Gravely wanted to put the 135-pound division on notice and show off his more complete skills as a fighter. Birchak mounted his defense but with relentless pressure, Gravely was able to maintain control setting up the 2 round finish.

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland

April 10, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland
Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland
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Fight Of The Night: Sam Alvey vs Julian Marquez

Julian Marquez has quickly made up for lost time in the Octagon, earning bonuses in back-to-back performances. At UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland, the Dana White’s Contender Series grad stepped in on relatively short notice to face veteran light heavyweight Sam Alvey.

Marquez and Alvey battled in a fun first round which featured moments for both fighters. Marquez applied the pressure as Alvey used his sharp counterstrikes to inflict damage upon the Glory MMA product.

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In the second round Marquez’s hands found their target, stumbling Alvey. That’s when Marquez poured it on, throwing hammer fists at his turtled-up opponent. Marquez switch tactics, sinking in a deep rear naked choke while Alvey was on his knees and putting an end to fight.

It was fast paced, and it was fun. Marquez moves to 9-2 and has his 2021 off to a great start.

Performance Of The Night: Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern is on fire.

The jiu jitsu world champion showed her evolution as a striker in her last fight against Virna Jandiroba and she showed her killer instinct at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland.

Welcoming Nina Nunes back to the Octagon after nearly two years, Dern pushed the pace early in the fight. She used her strikes and forward pressure to set-up a takedown. Once she was able to get Nunes to the canvas she slowly but surely maneuvered herself into position to attempt an armbar.

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It took a few moments but once she was able to fight off Nunes’ hands, the tap came almost simultaneously with the extension of Nunes’ arm.

That’s four in-a-row for Dern and the win puts her right in the top five of the always tough UFC strawweight division. Dern (11-1) has shown she is a true contender and it will be interesting to see what is next for her.

Performance Of The Night: Mateusz Gamrot

If you didn’t know who Mateusz Gamrot was before UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland, you should start paying attention. At 18-1, 1NC there is no question that Poland’s Gamrot is someone to keep an eye on.

Gamrot fell victim to a close decision bout on UFC Fight Island in his UFC debut, but showed that he wouldn’t let that loss derail him by knocking out lightweight veteran Scott Holtzman.

It was a perfectly placed 1-2 that stunned Holtzman, with some follow-up strikes from Gamrot to close the show.

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2

March 27, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Vicente Luque Post-Fight Interview | UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2
Vicente Luque Post-Fight Interview | UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2
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Vicente Luque talks about his knockout win at UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou.


Fight of the Night: Tyron Woodley vs. Vicente Luque

In the biggest fight of his career, Vicente Luque showed he was capable of beating the best the division has to offer after knocking out Tyron Woodley in the first round. People wondered what version of Tyron Woodley would come out against the all-action Luque, and the former champ looked as dangerous as ever after suffering a trio of losses.

Woodley came out hot, unleashing his patented overhand rights, even stumbling the Brazilian midway through the round. Luque dug in and fired back as he always does, though. The two slugged it out in explosive flurries, and eventually, Luque had "The Chosen One" rocked badly. Although Woodley fired winging punches back, Luque evaded well and eventually got the fight to the ground. There, he quickly locked up the submission and announced himself as a true welterweight contender.

Performance of the Night: Francis Ngannou

The new heavyweight king captured his throne in typically emphatic fashion. Francis Ngannou showed the years of work he put after his first fight against Stipe Miocic, stuffing takedowns, showing patience and eventually earning another stunning knockout win. With a bevy of options awaiting, Ngannou's era as the Baddest Man On The Planet begins, and he appears primed for that responsibility.

Performance of the Night: Sean O’Malley

The Sugar Show found his flow against Thomas Almeida and got back into the win column with another knockout win. O'Malley nearly finished the fight in the first round after a head kick and punches, but "Sugar" got to get a couple more rounds of work in before finishing the fight in powerful fashion in the third round. It was a nice return to form for the young bantamweight, and so, the show rolls on to the next fight.

UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Holland

March 20, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Max Griffin punches Song Kenan of China in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC )
Max Griffin punches Song Kenan of China in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC )

Performance of the Night: Max Griffin

Right now is a good time to be Max Griffin. The welterweight veteran has fought the who's who in the division and he stepped up in a big way during the event's co-main event.

Griffin's bout with Song Kenan didn't last long, with Griffin finding a power right cross as Kenan kicked. The strike made Kenan stumbled back against the Octagon, where he was greeted by a furious combination from Griffin that dropped Kenan face down on the canvas. It was a nasty finish, that Griffin called "stone cold" in post-fight interviews.

Griffin has momentum and he's feeling it, that makes him a must watch going forward.

Performance of the Night: Adrian Yanez

What's better than getting a performance bonus in your UFC debut? Getting one in your sophomore performance.

That's just what Adrian Yanez did, he took care of business against Gustavo Lopez and is starting to get some real attention as a top prospect in the stacked bantamweight division. Throughout the fight it was clear Yanez had the advantage on the feet, he was consistently out-striking Lopez and landing powerful shots time and time again. Finally, Yanez hit the home run shot, landing a laser right in the second round that would end the night for Lopez.

Yanez is a breath of fresh air on the mic as well, full of energy and truly enjoying the process. He is living the dream and that's part of his success.

Performance of the Night: Grant Dawson

The last time that Leonardo Santos lost a fight Grant Dawson was 15 years old. Let that sink in.

Well, Grant Dawson ended Santos’ impressive streak in style, knocking out Santos with just one second left in their lightweight bout. Up to that point, it was a close fight and Dawson was hunting a finish. We often hear the phrase “don’t let it go to the judge’s scorecards” and Dawson wasn’t about to let it do that.

So with 10 seconds remaining he starting reigning down massive hammer fists that sent Santos’ mouthpiece and consciousness into orbit. It was a fantastic display for the lightweight prospect, who now has won 8 straight.

Performance of the Night: Bruno Silva

In the last fight on his UFC contract, flyweight Bruno Silva picked up an emphatic first win in the Octagon with a second-round TKO of UFC debutant JP Buys. A longtime training partner of Henry Cejudo, "Bulldog's" grappling and ground game were put to the test against Buys, who made his start in combat sports in wrestling. The Brazilian prevailed in a big way, scoring three knockdowns en route to his victory, which ties the single-fight UFC flyweight record.

With sights of his first UFC victory now in the rear-view, Silva looks to return to the Octagon as soon as it'll have him.

UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad

March 13, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Dan Ige knocks out Gavin Tucker of Canada in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Dan Ige knocks out Gavin Tucker of Canada in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Performance of the Night: Ryan Spann

UFC light heavyweight Ryan Spann bounced back in a big way when he defeated Misha Cirkunov at UFC Fight Night: Edwards Vs Muhammad. The Texas native found a home for a big straight right that put Cirkunov on the mat early in the first, but he showed great patience in letting Cirkunov stand back up. From their the writing was on the wall and "Superman" Spann dropped Cirkunov once more, this time following it up with a flurry of hammer fist punches.

The win puts Spann in a great place, and likely earns him a top 10 ranked fight in the thick of the light heavyweight division.

Performance of the Night: Dan Ige

It took Dan "50K" Ige just 22 seconds to earn his 50K bonus this time. It was one straight punch that turned off the lights on Gavin Tucker. It was a satisfying performance for the 9th ranked featherweight, who hasn't fought since his main event bout on UFC Fight Island last July. The knockout was the sixth fastest in UFC featherweight history.

Ige proved once again that just because he changed his name from "Dynamite" to "50K" that he can't be both. Up next for Ige is the birth of his first child. What a start to 2021 for one of Hawaii's finest.

Performance of the Night: Davey Grant

It's been tough for Davey Grant to get in the Octagon. That's why he knew he had to make the most of his opportunity against tough bantamweight Jonathan Martinez.

In the first round, Grant was dropped by a massive strike from Martinez. He was able to get his wits about him and survive the round and get reminded by his coaches that he's comeback from worse. That remark prompted a laugh from Grant and then he delivered in round two by knocking Martinez out with a massive looping hook.

It was madness and it was exactly the moment that Grant wanted to follow up his recent knockout of Martin Day.

Performance of the Night: Matthew Semelsberger

Who says second impressions can't be better than firsts? Matthew Semelsberger's first fight out didn't result in a finish, so he made sure to get one in the first 16 seconds of his welterweight bout with Jason Witt. It was a very impressive showing for Semelsberger who earned the seventh fastest welterweight finish in UFC history with the knockout.

2-0 in the UFC and riding the momentum, it's a good time to be "Semi The Jedi".

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya

March 6, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Kennedy Nzechukwu of Nigeria punches Carlos Ulberg of New Zealand in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Kennedy Nzechukwu of Nigeria punches Carlos Ulberg of New Zealand in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Fight of the Night: Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Carlos Ulberg

Kennedy Nzechukwu and Carlos Ulberg had an all-out slugfest, one that featured several momentum swings and ended with an emphatic knockout.

Ulberg stormed Nzechukwu right away and rocked him with a high kick. After Nzechukwu weatered Ulberg's ensuing swarm, he started to gain some traction with his own strikes. Eventually, he rocked Ulberg and then the war truly started. A body-focused attack from Ulberg seemed to nearly earn the stoppage, only for Nzechukwu to return with a spicy 1-2 followed with his own flurry. He was the fresher fighter in the second round, and while Ulberg never backed down, Nzechukwu was slightly more sharper. In one such exchange, Nzechukwu took advantage of Ulberg's low guard and landed a cracking right hand to start the finishing sequence.

Performance of the Night: Uros Medic

Contender Series alum Uros Medic shot out of the canon in his UFC debut, earning a stoppage win in less than two minutes. Aalon Cruz came out hot, but Medic remained calm and rocked Cruz with a check hook. After Cruz attempted to grapple, Medic caught Cruz with a left hand and unleashed a flurry of unanswered ground strikes to get the win.

Performance of the Night: Kai Kara-France

Kai "Don't Blink" Kara-France earned his nickname after earning a walk-away knockout over Rogerio Bontorin.

Bontorin took Kara-France down early and threatened several submissions for most of the first round. Soon enough, though, Kara-France got the fight back to the feet. There, Kara-France unleashed three powerful right hands that sent Bontorin face-first to the canvas. The finish was Kara-France's first of his UFC career and was an emphatic way to get back into the winner's circle.

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Gane

February 27, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Pedro Munhoz of Brazil and Jimmie Rivera talk after their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Pedro Munhoz of Brazil and Jimmie Rivera talk after their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Fight of the Night: Pedro Munhoz vs Jimmie Rivera

Almost six years after their first epic meeting, bantamweight contenders Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera gave an encore that did their initial bout proudly. Munhoz took the commanding unanimous decision win, cementing his place among the best of the division and evening the score with Rivera.

Both men threw heat as soon as the fight started, eating shots and delivering bigger ones as soon as the fight started. Munhoz found some traction via leg kicks, leaving Rivera in pain and hobbled, but "El Terror" bit down on his mouthpiece and stayed in the fight. Rivera tried to mix things up as the fight went on, but Munhoz shucked off his takedowns and looked for the seminal blow. Munhoz continued to pour on the painful pressure toward Rivera's legs as the fight grew, but Rivera countered well with haymakers up top. 

The two didn't let up from bell to bell and shared great respect for each other at the end of the bout. The scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Munhoz, and most left the bout feeling like a trilogy bout would be in order in the future.

Performance of the Night: Ronnie Lawrence

UFC debutant Ronnie Lawrence showed off a well-versed, well-rounded skillset in his win over Vince Cachero. He got to work quickly in the first round, scoring a strong right hand late in the frame. He showed off his ability to mix things up, racking up a trio of takedowns and doing damage to Cachero's legs and body. Lawrence continued a relentless pace, upping the tempo in the third round in which featured a suplex and a barrage of ground-and-pound to get the finish midway through the third round.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis

February 20, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Derrick Lewis reacts after his knockout victory over Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Derrick Lewis reacts after his knockout victory over Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Performance Of The Night: Derrick Lewis

The KO king reigned supreme once again at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes Vs Lewis. Derrick Lewis waited for his opportunity to land a massive uppercut in the second round that completely shut the lights off for Curtis Blaydes. This type of fight is what we've grown accustom to from "The Black Beast". He waits for his moment and knocks out his opponent and then leaves the Octagon with a win and an extra $50,000.

Performance Of The Night: Chris Daukaus

Chris Daukaus's rise deserves attention. He took out two tough guys early in his first two UFC appearances, so the UFC gave him a step-up in competition. They gave him the ultra dangerous Aleksei Oleinik and what did Daukaus do? He passed with flying colors, doing exactly what he had done in his first two fights. He picked Oleinik apart and he made it look easy.

Daukaus landed heavy strikes and poured on combos, nearly prompting the fight to be stopped on more than one occasion. With Oleinik covering up against the fence, Daukaus didn't stop throwing haymakers and forced the referee to call it before the first bell rang.

Big things are on the horizon for Daukaus, who will find a shiny number next to his name next week.

Performance Of The Night: Tom Aspinall

England's Tom Aspinall started off the main card in a big way. He, like Daukaus, took out his first two opponents with ease and then was given a veteran heavyweight. In Aspinall's case, he was given former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and he went out there and showed he absolutely is a prospect that people should keep their eyes on. 

Aspinall hurt Arlovski early, causing Arlovski to protect himself up against the cage. That's when Aspinall turned on the jets and unleashed a flurry of strikes that nearly ended the bout in the first round. But Arlovski was able to survive the round and make it to the second. It was there that Aspinall switched up his attack, successfully taking Arlovski down with a beautiful double leg where he quickly transitioned to Arlovski's back and sunk in a rear naked choke.

It was very impressive and it should be very interesting to see who Aspinall matches up with next.

Performance Of The Night: Aiemann Zahabi

What a win for Aiemann Zahabi. After dropping his first two UFC contests he knew he needed a win and he knew he needed to do it in impressive fashion. He accomplished just that by connecting a masterful straight shot that sent Drako Rodriguez to the canvas. It was a clean knockout and it was a huge moment for the Canadian.

UFC 258: Usman vs Burns

February 13, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Polyana Viana locks in the arm bar to win | UFC 258: Usman vs Burnsf
Polyana Viana locks in the arm bar to win | UFC 258: Usman vs Burnsf
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Performance of the Night: Kamaru Usman

When you pass the great Georges St-Pierre for most wins at welterweight, you’ve created your own rarified air, and the reigning champion did it in style against former teammate Gilbert Burns. Weathering a first round that saw him eating some huge shots, Usman stormed back in the second, rocking from the Brazilian with some wicked strikes that paid homage to new coach Trevor Wittman and training partner Justin Gaethje. But the performance was vintage Usman, who needed all of 34 seconds of the third round to finish the deed with a TKO.

Despite another stellar outing, the win at the expense of his longtime friend proved bittersweet.

""This one was hard for me. It's hard to come in without all the emotions. Gilbert is a guy that I've known from the start. I love him. This one was tough for me to deal with."

Performance of the Night: Julian Marquez

31 months removed from his last Octagon appearance, Julian Marquez made the most of his return with an anaconda choke of Maki Pitolo. Down on the scorecards heading into the final frame, “The Cuban Missle Crisis” dug deep to complete the long comeback from the injury that sidelined him.

“This fight explained everything that happened on that road,” Marquez agreed. “Everybody is counting you down, people start letting go of you and your belief in coming back and returning. You’re taking a lot of hits, you’re coming up and down, there are some good moments, some bad moments, and at the end of it all, you came back with stunning fashion, you shocked the world and you probably got a performance bonus. That’s exactly how that happened.”

Performance of the Night: Anthony Hernandez

The betting experts had an Anthony Hernandez submission vs Rodolfo Vieira at a whopping +3000. Anyone who might have placed that bet likely went home nearly as happy as Hernandez himself, as he became the first man to defeat the Brazilian with a wild guillotine choke in the second round.

MORE UFC 258: Final ResultsAlexa Grasso Post-Fight InterviewRicky Simon Post-Fight InterviewKelvin Gastelum Post-Fight Interview | Belal Muhammad Post-Fight Interview

“I’m not afraid to fight anybody,” he said backstage following the fight. “At the end of the day I know my coaches and my team will get me prepared. It’s plain and simple. I got into this sport because I knew I could be the best and just because he is 7-0 doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable…I love to beat people at their own game, because then it’s just like ‘where did you beat me at?’, because if you beat them at their best, they have no excuse, so I wanted to give him no excuses.”

Performance of the Night: Polyana Viana

This is the odd outing where it was actually impressive that Mallory Martin lasted more than three minutes again Brazilian submission ace Polyana Viana. Controlling every aspect of the tilt from the opening bell, it seemed to never be a matter of “if” but “when” she would cement the victory that came at 3:18 of the first round with a clinical and brutal armbar.

“I’m really happy. Another submission win showing how sharp my jiu-jitsu is, but my standup game is on point too. I wanted to show it a little bit more, but the submission came and I’m happy with that. I didn’t think she would give me the opportunity to put her down so fast, but that was also part of my strategy.”

UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov

February 6, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

View the Fight Card | Official Scorecards | Full Results

Cory Sandhagen Gets Flying Knee Knockout | Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov
Cory Sandhagen Gets Flying Knee Knockout | Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov
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Cory Sandhagen earns a first-round knockout at UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Overeem


Fight of the Night: Beneil Dariush vs Diego Ferreira

The lightweight division continues to deliver. Both Beneil Dariush and Diego Ferreira entered their UFC Vegas 18 showdown with lengthy win streaks and hopes to make a serious push to the top of the division. The three-round bout was tightly contested, much like their first showdown back in 2014. Dariush's relentless pace forced Ferreira to make adjustments, with both talented ground technicians having moments in entertaining scrambles. Ferreira's strong third round nearly helped him steal a decision, but in the end, it was the pressure of Dariush and his accurate striking that earned him the victory over the Brazilian. 

Performance of the Night: Alexander Volkov

Alexander Volkov is back in a big way. Since his disappointing loss to Curtis Blaydes, "Drago" has been on a mission, taking care of Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem in back to back knockout victories. Volkov's power was evident, as the Russian battered Overeem with pin-point strikes until the legendary heavyweight couldn't take any more damage. The win puts Volkov in a perfect spot heading into the rest of 2021. He gets to sit back and watch Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou duke it out for the second time and see who emerges from Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis.

RELATED: Ode' Osbourne's 26 Second KO Win | Danilo Marques' Submission On Mike Rodriguez | Cory Sandhagen Post-Fight Interview | Alexander Volkov Post-Fight Interview | Beneil Dariush Post-Fight Interview

Performance of the Night: Cory Sandhagen

Second-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen made an astonishing statement with his Performance of the Night knockout victory over former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Sandhagen scored the second-quickest flying knee knockout in UFC history, stopping the fight just 28 seconds into the first round, and adding a second viral knockout to his highlight reel. With the bantamweight title on the line at UFC 259 between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, Sandhagen made it clear with his words and performance that he believes he deserves the next shot at the belt.

UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2

January 23, 2021 | Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island, UAE

View the Fight Card | Official Scorecards | Full Results

UFC 257: Dustin Poirier Octagon Interview
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier Octagon Interview
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Performance of the Night: Dustin Poirier

The “Diamond” rose to the occasion in the rematch, weathering a strong first round from Conor McGregor to score a second-round knockout win in Abu Dhabi.

After a measured first round that included a successful takedown, Poirier committed to kicking McGregor’s lead leg, and that strategy quickly paid dividends. Poirier ate McGregor’s counter shots well and waited for his moment to take the center. Once Poirier pushed McGregor to the fence, he poured on the pressure and unleashed a flurry of hooks. Eventually, enough connected and McGregor fell, evening the series at one win a piece and setting Poirier on the fast track to another title shot.

Performance of the Night: Michael Chandler

Chandler announced himself as the real deal and the newest lightweight contender with an emphatic knockout win over Dan Hooker.

The fight started with Chandler implementing pressure right away, and Hooker constantly circled to his right. Soon enough, Chandler leapt in with a right straight to the body followed by a cracking left hook up top that put Hooker to the mat. Chandler followed with a flurry of ground-and-pound and earned the first-round stoppage.

Performance of the Night: Makhmud Muradov

Muradov started quick against Andrew Sanchez in the first round, connecting with calf kicks and sharp punching combinations. As Sanchez turned up the aggression in the second and third round, Muradov tempered the fire and took advantage of the more drastic openings. Eventually, Muradov connected with a right hand to stagger his foe and finished by landing several unanswered strikes to earn the stoppage in the final round.

Performance of the Night: Marina Rodriguez

While plenty of hype surrounded Amanda Ribas, Marina Rodriguez reminded everyone why she was the higher ranked Brazilian in the fight.

After the first round in which Ribas controlled things well with her grappling. Rodriguez started quickly. Her combinations were decisive and crisp, and a right hand found its home on Ribas’ chin. The up-and-comer wobbled to the floor, and it appeared Rodriguez earned the stoppage with her follow-up strikes. As Rodriguez separated, referee Herb Dean waved the fight on, and Rodriguez pounced on Ribas again and landed two right hands that punctuated the win less than a minute into the second round.

UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs Magny

January 20, 2021 | Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island, UAE

View the Fight Card | Official Scorecards | Full Results

UFC Fight Island 8: Umar Nurmagomedov Def Morozov By Submission In His Debut
UFC Fight Island 8: Umar Nurmagomedov Def Morozov By Submission In His Debut
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Fight of the Night: Mike Davis vs Mason Jones

A pair of lightweight prospects duked it out over a tough three rounds, with Mike Davis besting UFC debutant Mason Jones via unanimous decision. 

Davis got right to work with his hands, showing quick, fluid boxing and mixing in shots to the body as well. He also initiated the first grappling exchange and scored the takedown, but Jones got back to his feet and started to find his rhythm on the feet. All three rounds were relatively back-and-forth, and the two up-and-comers traded flurries of punches. Davis mixed in more grappling, but Jones resisted well and wore on Davis as the fight went on. Overall, Davis landed the more significant strikes throughout the night and earned the tough-fought win.

Performance of the Night: Umar Nurmagomedov

The long-awaited debut of Umar Nurmagomedov delivered as the bantamweight earned a submission win over Sergey Morozov. 

RELATED: Umar Nurmagomedov Post-Fight InterviewWarlley Alves Octagon Interview | Chiesa vs Magny Final Results

Nurmagomedov landed kicks early and evaded the counter shots, and midway through the round, Nurmagomedov shot for the takedown and caused a scramble. The pace continued into the second round with Nurmagomedov rocked Morozov with a head kick, and a couple minutes later, he dipped under a punch to take Morozov’s back. Patient work led to a rear naked choke finish and a loud announcement of his presence in the division.

Performance of the Night: Warlley Alves

Alves stymied the momentum of Mounir Lazzez in the co-main event, putting the pressure on the prospect early. He landed with a fast low kick, a combination of punches and put Lazzez into the clinch. After scoring a few elbows and going for a takedown, Alves hit Lazzez with a body kick that stunned Lazzez and followed with two more to end the fight.

UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar

January 16, 2021 | Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island, UAE

View the Fight Card | Official Scorecards | Full Results

Max Holloway kicks Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Performance of the Night: Li Jingliang

Most of the narrative around Li Jingliang’s fight with Santiago Ponzinibbio circulated around the latter’s return, but in the end, “The Leech” came away with his hand raised.

As Ponzinibbio probed in hopes of quickly finding his timing, Li took advantage of the countering opportunities provided from Ponzinibbio’s errant strikes. In one such exchange, Li slipped a shot and came over the top with a left hand to the chin that immediately dropped Ponzinibbio and ended the bout.

“I really expected to either knock him out in the first round or Santiago knocking me out because he is such a powerful fighter,” he said. “I would’ve actually preferred to go all three rounds to show off more of my skillset, but it feels great

“Santiago is such an aggressive, intense fighter and we were prepared for him. The coach told me as soon as the fight began to match his level of intensity, to not back down.”

Performance of the Night: Alessio Di Chirico

Coming off a three-fight skid, Alessio Di Chirico bounced back in a big way, knocking out Joaquin Buckley in the first round via head kick.

Di Chirico seemed locked in early, managing distance as Buckley weaved in with power shots. About two minutes into the fight, Di Chirico timed one of Buckley’s dips and caught him with a right head kick to the temple. It was an important performance for the Italian middleweight, who will surely look to follow up on his big performance soon.

Fight of the Night: Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar

In Max Holloway’s first non-title fight in more than four years, the former featherweight king dismantled an incredibly game Calvin Kattar in the first main event of 2021, setting the bar high for any fights that may come to challenge its standard.

Holloway looked as sharp as ever right from the jump, connecting with extended flurries that left Kattar scrambling against the fence and looking to throw one-shot bombs. “Blessed” fired rapid-fire straight punches, leaving few windows for Kattar to respond. The Massachusetts-native  took his chances as they came, but Holloway mixed up his rhythm well as the fight progressed into the second round. Holloway also found plenty of success with elbows that opened a big cut on Kattar’s forehead.

The fight seemed like it was going to come to an end at several points, but Kattar got his shots in as well, particularly a heavy uppercut in the third round that paused the onslaught of pressure from Holloway. It was here where Holloway committed to body shots, digging hooks into Kattar’s ribs and working his way up from there to win another lopsided round.

The fourth and fifth rounds were all Holloway, featuring several moments where the fight seemed incredibly close to a stoppage. Kattar showed immense toughness, though, firing heavy shots when it seemed like he was melting against the cage. In the end, Holloway displayed the form that shot him up into the G.O.A.T. conversation and reminded everybody that the 29-year-old is very much still in play to recapture his belt. The final scorecards were 50-43, 50-43 and 50-42 – a true reflection of the dominant form Holloway showed.