Following last night’s UFC 266 event the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Earning ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors was a thrilling main event featherweight title clash between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, which delivered five full rounds of action.
Volkanovski fought a great fight, keeping a high tempo and landing frequently with his punches and kicks throughout, but he certainly didn’t have it all his one way, as evidenced by the fact both men were already displaying damage by the end of the first round.
However, it was the third round where Volkanovski was tested most, being dropped by an Ortega punch, with the BJJ ace then swiftly seizing on the opportunity to lock-in a mounted guillotine, yet somehow the champion managed to hang on in there when others would have tapped and then broke free, only to then have to survive a triangle choke attempt too and by the end of the round have got on top and landed heavy ground-and-pound that had him on the verge of a stoppage victory.
Ortega was slow to get back to his feet inbetween rounds and had to be checked by the doctor as one of his eyes began to swell shut, but he was allowed to continue and showed plenty of heart in the championship rounds, but Volkanovski’s work was tireless and though the challenger did steel himself for a final big flurry in the final seconds of the fight, it wasn’t enough to prevent the champion from earning a unanimous decision victory (49-46, 50-45, 50-44).
Meanwhile, Merab Dvalishvili earned one of two ‘Performance Of The Night’ awards after he survived being floored and on the verge of being finished by Marlon Moraes early in the first round. He then quickly regrouped and took the fight to Moraes, landing a takedown and mauling him with ground-and-pound.
Dvalisvhili continued to build momentum in the second round, quickly rocking his opponent and then taking him down again, where his continual onslaught of punches would eventually see Moraes wilt and the referee step in to save him from further punishment.
Also earning a performance bonus was Chris Daukaus, who dropped Shamil Abdurakhimov with a jaw-crushing left hook in the first round, but couldn’t finish him before the bell.
Then in the second round he was able to put his opponent down again with a right hand and landed nasty ground-and-pound to seal the TKO stoppage win.