Following last night’s UFC 280 event in Abu Dhabi the recipients of the night’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Earning ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors was a hard-hitting bantamweight battle between Sean O’Malley and Petr Yan on the main card.
Heading into this fight there were 10 places separating the two on the 135lb ladder, but O’Malley soon showed that he was worthy of taking on the No.1 contender as he stayed competitive in the opening round striking exchanges, though Yan was the one pushing the pace and his willingness to mix in his wrestling was an issue for ‘Suga’.
Things really heated up in the second round, with O’Malley hurting Yan with a clean punch that put him on the defensive, though Yan soon regrouped and then unleashed a big punch of his own that rocked his opponent, before proceeding to take him down.
The action continued to ebb and flow in the final round, with O’Malley landing a big knee to the head that troubled Yan and left him with a cut. That didn’t deter him though and Yan continued to be aggressive while mixing in takedowns in the minutes that followed.
The fight then went to the scorecards, where O’Malley was announced as the winner via split decision. The decision was somewhat controversial as many believed that though O’Malley had landed two of the biggest blows in the fight and been competitive throughout, that Yan had done enough between his striking and wrestling to get the nod. It’s unlikely anyone will complain with the decision to award the bout ‘Fight of The Night’ honors though.
Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev earned one of two ‘Performance of The Night’ awards after he defeated Charles Oliveira to be crowned the UFC’s new lightweight champion.
In the biggest fight of his life Makhachev proved to be a worthy winner, getting the better of Oliveira on the feet and on the mat, as evidenced in the second round fight-ending sequence in which he initially dropped the Brazilian ace with a right hook before immediately setting up an arm triangle submission on the mat to force the tapout.
Also securing a performance bonus was Belal Muhammad, who extended his unbeaten run to nine fights after engaging in a competitive fight with Sean Brady, before hurting him with a punch late in the second round and then following up with an offensive barrage of follow-up blows that led him to a TKO victory.