UFC Austin delivered for a raucous crowd at the city’s Moody Center, tying a record for the most KO/TKO finishes at a single UFC event. The promotion decided to mark the occasion by handing out extra bonuses for the second-straight week after 7 different fighters took home an extra $50k at UFC 275 last week.
The UFC topped that number this week and gave 11 different fighters a $50K bonus. The promotion elected to hand out Performance of the Night bonuses to every fighter that won by finish, plus the usual pair of bonuses for Fight of the Night.
Things got off to a fast start in the middleweight division, as Roman Dolidze stopped Kyle Daukaus just over a minute into the night’s opening fight. The Georgian landed a knee that sent Daukaus to the canvas and only required a few half-hearted follow-up punches before the ref had seen enough.
The action continued at middleweight with the night’s second bout. After battering him for large portions of the fight, Phil Hawes landed some standing elbows on an already comprised Deron Winn to earn a stoppage at the end of the second round.
The event ended up with three-straight finishes before seeing the judge’s scorecards. Cody Stamann needed less than a minute to stop veteran Eddie Wineland with a combination of knees and punches against the fence.
The first decision of the night did nothing to halt the card’s momentum, as Ricardo Ramos delivered arguably the most impressive finish of the evening in the following bout. Already known for his spinning elbow KO of Aiemann Zahabi at UFC 217, the 26-year-old landed the technique a second time to set up a finish of Danny Chavez.
Not to be outdone, Jeremiah Wells delivered his own offering for the night’s best finish in the next fight. Matched with The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 winner Court McGee, Wells pressed forward and landed a huge left hook that starched “The Crusher” just over a minute and a half into the fight.
The event’s second decision provided a brief respite from the violence of Ramos and Wells’ finishes, but Adrian Yanez got things back on track with the third first-round finish of his UFC career. The Texas-native clearly fed off the energy of his home fans and battered Tony Kelley until the ref stepped in with just over a minute left in the first round.
The next fight between Gregory Rodrigues and Julian Marquez ended in the event’s sixth and final first-round finish. Rodrigues established a striking edge early, and despite a valiant attempt from Marquez to fire back he ended up on the canvas after a right hand from “Robocop”.
Middleweights went 4 for 4 on finishes when Joaquin Buckley earned a victory over Albert Duraev via doctor stoppage in the third round of their fight. While Buckley couldn’t dictate exactly when the fight ended, Duraev had no answer for the offense that closed the Russian’s left eye to the point where a doctor deemed him unable to continue.
The welterweight co-main event between Kevin Holland and Tim Means provided the final finish of the evening and night’s only submission. “Trailblazer” managed to catch Means in a d’arce choke for Holland’s second-straight victory since moving to the welterweight division.
The main event bout between featherweights Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett had a lot to live up to considering the action that preceded them entering the cage. Both men delivered in a Fight of the Night performance where Josh Emmett walked away with a narrow split-decision win and his fifth-straight victory.
All in all, 9 different fighters walked away from UFC Austin with Performance of the Night Bonuses in addition to Fight of the Night going to Kattar and Emmett.
What do you think of the bonuses for UFC Austin? Should the UFC continue this trend of handing out extra bonuses for exceptional events?