Following last night’s UFC 236 event in Atlanta the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Given the two stellar fights that lived up to and indeed exceeded everyone’s expectations it’s only fitting that the unusual decision was made to award two ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonuses.
That meant one ‘Fight Of The Night’ award went to the tremendous interim lightweight title main event between Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway, a thrilling five round war in which Poirier proved to be the bigger, heavier handed fighter and had the featherweight champion wobbled on multiple occasions.
However, Holloway showed tremendous resilience and his volume striking and endless cardio also had Poirier troubled in the later rounds, but ultimately it was ‘The Diamond’ who made the bigger overall impact and earned himself a unanimous decision victory to win the belt.
The co-main event interim middleweight title was also an instant candidate for fight of the year as Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum also went to war for 25 minutes.
Adesanya has a terrific technical arsenal of strikes at his disposal as well as a big height and reach advantage, but Gastelum troubled him more than any other fighter to date with his ability to get into range and land powerful shots and forced his opponent to show his heart after dropping him more than once in the fight.
Adesanya proved to be up to the challenge though, never becoming phased by his opponent’s heavy hands and also showing very good takedown defense, while of course his striking was razor-sharp – and never more so than in the final round as he rebounded after being badly hurt late in the fourth to floor Gastelum multiple times in the closing five minutes, while also threatening with a triangle choke on the mat.
It was everything you could hope for from a title fight with both men giving absolutely everything they had and in the end it was Adesanya who emerged victorious.