UFC 261 ended up being one of the most eventful nights in UFC history, with incredible finishes and back-and-forth wars aplenty. There were plenty of incredible performances; including knockouts from Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas in their title fights.
UFC president Dana White had his work cut out for him afterwards in figuring out who would get bonuses for their efforts; handing out four $50,000 post-fight bonuses.
Performance of the Night: Kamaru Usman
Usman earned a bonus for a sensational knockout victory in Round 2 in his rematch with Jorge Masvidal.
The two fighters went back-and-forth in the first round, with “The Nigerian Nightmare” showing patience on the feet and scoring a big takedown just a couple minutes into the fight. Masvidal showed great prowess with his leg kicks and caught Usman a few times with his signature right hook.
The second round ended up telling a different story. Usman came out of his corner firing on all cylinders in the striking facet and just barely a missed a couple of early big punches. After Masvidal appeared to laugh off Usman’s advance, the welterweight champion threw a massive 1-2 punch combo that sent “Gamebred” to the canvas; knocking him out cold.
Performance of the Night: Rose Namajunas
Former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas looked to regain her throne in her matchup with the always dangerous strawweight queen Zhang Weili.
Weili was making her first title defense since her epic war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 last year. Namajunas was coming off a big win against Jessica Andrade in their rematch of an earlier title fight.
The former champ was largely looked at as the underdog against Weili, but shut the conversation down in a hurry in scoring a massive knockout with a first-round head kick. Weili protested the stoppage right after the fight was called, but Namajunas earned the win and the beginning of her second reign as UFC strawweight champion.
Fight of the Night: Jeff Molina vs. Aori Qileng
There were plenty of fights for White to choose from when it came to Fight of the Night, but it ended up going to one of the greatest early-prelim bouts in recent memory between flyweights Jeff Molina and Aori Qileng.
It was a back-and-forth affair over 15 minutes and a tough fight for the judges to call at the end. Molina landed just a little over 200 strikes against Qileng and went home with the unanimous decision win.
In his postfight interview with Joe Rogan, Molina directly called out White for a bonus, and the boss gave the rising flyweight prospect what he wanted; and deservedly so.
Do you agree with the bonuses handed out by UFC president Dana White following UFC 261?