Travis Browne, Matt Brown, Chael Sonnen, Michael McDonald and Brad Pickett each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 26 event.
In uncustomary fashion, the UFC handed out a pair of "Knockout of the Night" bonuses and a pair of "Submission of the Night" bonuses. Browne and Brown each earned "Knockout of the Night" awards, Sonnen and McDonald won "Submission of the Night" and McDonald doubled up with "Fight of the Night" honors along with Pickett.
UFC officials announced the winners following Saturday's card, initially announcing McDonald was a double bonus winner. UFC President Dana White at the post-event news conference, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) attended, announced the awards without McDonald as a double-bonus winner. But he later in the news conference corrected that to reflect McDonald had won $100,000.
UFC Fight Night 26 took place at Boston's TD Garden. A six-fight main card aired on FOX Sports 1 following a four-fight preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 and three prelims on Facebook. The event was the UFC's debut on the new 24-hour cable sports network.
Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) was in big, big trouble early against Alistair Overeem (36-13 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the heavyweight co-main event. Turtled up against the fence with the former Strikeforce champion raining down right hands, Browne was told to protect himself and get moving by referee Mario Yamasaki. Get moving he did, eventually. He got back to his feet, and after a few kicks to the body, he unleashed with a front kick to Overeem's face that dropped the big man instantly. He followed up with two hammerfists on the canvas for the upset win.
Brown (18-11 MMA, 11-5 UFC) made a point of letting people know he's not going anywhere in the welterweight division, and he did so in a big way, knocking out Mike Pyle (25-9-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) just 29 seconds into their fight. Brown stretched his win streak to six and shut down a four-fight streak for Pyle.
Sonnen (28-13-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) made his main-event win over Mauricio Rua (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) look easy. He took "Shogun" down early, then back on the feet let Rua take him down. And on the ground, he was dominant. He latched onto a guillotine choke late in the first round, then jumped guard to lock it in tighter. With 13 seconds left in the frame, "Shogun" had no choice but to tap in the main event.
McDonald (16-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) brought a furious pace against Pickett (23-8 MMA, 3-3 UFC) early, dropping the Brit several times in the opening round. But each time, Pickett got back to his feet and managed to cling to his fighting life. He even made it into the second round and seemed to be gaining some traction on the ground – before McDonald threw up a triangle choke and was able to force the tap.