Following last night’s UFC On ESPN 42 event in Orlando, Florida the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
Earning ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors was arguably one of the best fights of the year as Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland engaged in a stand-up war in the main event.
Holland was more of the aggressor in the first round and had Thompson rocked at one point with a clean right hand. Thompson looked to get payback in the second round as he upped his own offensive output, throwing multiple kicks to the head and body during his combinations, and he seemed to momentarily daze Holland with one such combo late in the round.
Thompson continued to be more aggressive than normal in third round and it’s a testament to Holland’s durability that he was able to remain upright after some of big strikes that he had to endure in that five minute spell. In the later stages of the round though it was clear that Holland’ own offensive output was starting to dwindle, and when the round ended he finally showed signs that he was dealing with a potentially broken right hand, which he’d later reveal had actually started to become a problem as early as the opening round.
That set up Thompson for another big round in the fourth, repeatedly finding a home for his fast, eye-catching kicks to the head and body, forcing Holland into reactive takedown attempts at times to survive the onslaught. The damage was really starting to pile up now and Thompson did also briefly drop his opponent with a punch for good measure.
At the end of the round Holland’s corner rightly decided that they’d seen enough and waved the fight off, with their fighter having absorbed too much punishment while having little opportunity to turn things around with his broken hand, so Thompson secures a TKO victory to end the year on a high note.
Earlier, Roman Dolidze had impressed when in the second round of his fight with Jack Hermansson he transitioned between submission attempts before ending up locking in a calf slicer, which he kept in place as he rolled his opponent onto his belly and then proceeded to blast him with ground-and-pound blows until the TKO stoppage.
Also earning a performance bonus was Sergei Pavlovich, who made short work of Tai Tuivasa after quickly rocking him with a powerful series of punches. Tuivasa looked to return fire, but soon afterwards he was put down by a couple of heavy jabs. He returned to his feet, but another punching combination from Pavlovich against the cage sunk him to the canvas again, with a brief flurry of ground and pound sealing a 54 second KO finish.