Following last night’s UFC 258 event in Las Vegas the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Despite the main event delivering plenty of excitement the UFC opted not to award a ‘Fight Of The Night’ on this occasion and instead dished out four performance bonuses.
Of course main event winner Kamaru Usman was one of them after his third round TKO stoppage victory over Gilbert Burns.
Usman had to battle back from adversity in the fight as his former training partner blitzed him with heavy artillery in the early stages of the opening round and soon had him staggered with an overhand right.
Increasingly Usman worked his way into the fight by going back to basics, focusing almost exclusively on his excellent jab, and by the second round that was starting to have a significant impact and helped pave the way for him to land a straight right that wobbled Burns.
From that point onwards Burns started to wilt and Usman continued to stay disciplined and continued to pick him apart, leading to an early third round finish as he switched stance and floored the challenger with a hard jab, then sealed the deal with a few more strikes to retain his title.
Also earning a ‘Performance Of The Night’ bonus was Julian Marquez, who was returning after a two-and-a-half year injury lay-off and found himself struggling to make an impact in the early rounds of the fight as Maki Pitolo showed off more strings to his bow than usual with relentless clinch work and takedown attempts.
By the third round Marquez knew he needed a finish to win and to his credit he went all-in on that as he waded forward and repeatedly landed heavy punches that soon took the wind out of Pitolo’s sails.
In the final minute Marquez looked to finish Pitolo on the mat after a barrage of punches and a knee strike, and managed to lock in an anaconda choke to force a tapout.
Earlier, Anthony Hernandez stunned decorated BJJ ace Rodolfo Viera by catching him in a fight-ending submission.
Viera had tried to make an impact early with his ground work, but Hernandez survived some submission attempts and began hurting him on the feet.
By the second round Viera was already tired and he tried to get the fight to the mat quickly, but was unsuccessful and Hernandez punished him, landing a head kick and elbows, before capitalizing on a last-ditch takedown attempt from his opponent to sink in a guillotine choke.
Rounding up the bonus awards was Polyana Viana who took Mallory Martin to the mat early and began working her submission game, eventually slickly transitioning from a triangle choke to a fully extended armbar to force the finish.