UFC Vegas 59 may have lost a few bouts during fight week, but the 10 fights that went ahead as scheduled delivered an action-packed card that didn’t include a single decision.
The UFC had plenty of options to choose from for the night’s best performances. The promotion elected to go with a trio of Performance of the Night bonuses for a few of the best knockouts, while Fight of the Night honors went to the evening’s main event.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Bryan Battle already had his moment in The Ultimate Fighter spotlight last year, but the 27-year-old wasn’t going to be overshadowed by the final bouts for the show’s 30th season at UFC Vegas 59.
Making his welterweight debut against Takashi Sato, “Pooh Bear” wasted no time announcing himself to the division when he knocked the Japanese fighter out with a head kick less than a minute into the fight.
Battle improved to 3-0 in the UFC since defeating Gilbert Urbina last year to win Season 29 of TUF, and his highlight-reel knockout also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
The most recent offering from The Ultimate Fighter may not have been the show’s most memorable season, but Mohammed Usman made sure to close things out in style.
Facing his teammate Zac Pauga in the heavyweight finals, Usman landed a brutal left hook early in the second round that sent Pauga to the mat.
The 33-year-old joined his brother Kamaru Usman as a TUF winner, and no doubt Usman will use his impressive victory and first Performance of the Night bonus as motivation to start his UFC career.
Geoff Neal had a big opportunity against Vicente Luque in UFC Vegas 59’s co-main event, and “Handz of Steel” used the matchup to earn the biggest victory of his career.
The welterweights put on a back-and-forth Fight of the Night contender before Neal finally battered Luque in the third round.
The 31-year-old entered the night as the UFC’s #13-ranked welterweight, but after that performance likely earned a Top 10 ranking to go along with his $50K bonus.
Fight Of The Night Bonus
With so many finishes at UFC Vegas 59, it comes as little surprise that the fight that went the longest also ended up as Fight of the Night.
Former light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos made Jamahal Hill show off the depth of his MMA skills over nearly 4 rounds of action, but Hill passed the test and earned a hard-fought TKO win.
Hill is now on a 3-fight win streak and has stopped all of those opponents via strikes. Santos certainly didn’t make things easy on the 31-year-old, and both men deservedly took home $50K bonuses for their Fight of the Night performance.
What are your thoughts on the bonus winners for UFC Vegas 59?