UFC Fight Night 103 emanated tonight (Sunday, January 15, 2017) from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The event was headlined by BJ Penn making his return to the cage against the dynamic Yair Rodriguez.
Rodriguez battered Penn with a wide variety of kicks throughout round one, and he ended the night early in round two. A front kick and a right hand dropped “The Prodigy”, and Rodriguez pounced for the finish inside the first 30 seconds of round two. For his efforts, Rodriguez was among those who banked an extra $50,000 for his Performance of the Night against the former two-division champion.
The other Performance of the Night went to Alexey Oleinik for his Ezekiel choke of Viktor Pesta. Oleinik latched onto Pesta’s neck with a rear-naked choke grip, but he was on the bottom with Pesta in his half guard. Pesta moved to full mount and suddenly tapped. It was the first Ezekiel choke finish in UFC history, and it earned Oleinik an extra $50,000.
The Fight of the Night went to the featured prelim, as bantamweights Frankie Saenz and Augusto Mendes engaged in a back-and-forth battle for 15 minutes. Both men were wobbled by punches on multiple occasions, but somehow they both gutted it out to hear the final bell. In the end, the judges sided with Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Mendes, who was able to complete several (albeit brief) takedowns during the match. Disappointed though he no doubt was, Saenz received a $50,000 check to match Mendes’ own Fight of the Night bonus.
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