Following last night’s UFC 290 event the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Earning ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors was the incredible flyweight co-main event war between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Moreno.
This was a barnburner from start to finish as the action ebbed and flowed on the feet and on the mat, with both men having their moments and also being bloodied up in the process. While the stand-up action was very close, Pantoja was the one who was initiating most of the grappling exchanges, landing several takedowns and enjoying spells of control. And so while Moreno’s scrambling ability was excellent throughout, that helped Pantoja edge ahead on two of the three judges scorecards to emerge with a split decision victory and become the new 125lb champ.
Dricus du Plessis earned one of two ‘Performance Of The Night’ awards after he delivered a major upset TKO victory over Robert Whittaker to set up a middleweight title fight against Israel Adesanya.
The first round was competitive, but du Plessis was carrying momentum into the 2nd round after having got Whittaker to the mat late in the opening five minutes and opening up a sizeable cut with ground-and-pound. Whittaker started the 2nd with more purpose, but as the action continued du Plessis sent him lurching forward onto his knees with a right hand. He gave Whittaker time to get back upright, but it was clear the former champ was still woozy and du Plessis took advantage as he unleashed a barrage of blows to the head and body that led to him crumpling back down to the mat, where ground-and-pound sealed the TKO victory.
Also earning a performance bonus was highly-touted prospect Bo Nickal, who showed there’s more to his MMA game than just wrestling as he landed several big punches to TKO late-replacement newcomer Val Woodburn just 38 seconds into the fight.
White he wasn’t officially announced as a bonus winner, Dana White also made it clear that he’d be taking care of Robbie Lawler too after he ended his legendary career with a stunning 38 second KO finish of Niko Price, making great use of dirty boxing to land a series of powerful uppercuts and hooks to add to his already stacked highlight-reel.