UFC Fight Night 130 emanated today (Sunday, May 27, 2018) from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. The evening was headlined by a welterweight showdown between native son Darren Till and kickboxing expert Stephen Thompson. Till took a controversial decision win in front of his hometown crowd, but he would not take home any extra bonus money. In fact, there was no Fight of the Night. Instead, four competitors earned Performance of the Night bonuses.
Brit Tom Breese took the first, as he punched out Aussie judoka Dan Kelly in the first round of the preliminary middleweight tilt. Breese, 14 years Kelly’s junior, returned from two years on the shelf and looked no worse for wear, punching out the 40-year-old in just over three and a half minutes. His short night banked him an extra $50,000.
In the first fight of the main card, Darren Stewart punched out Eric Spicely in the second round, earning himself a much-needed win and a Performance bonus. Stewart remained calm and composed, keeping his head moving and preventing Spicely from closing the distance, waiting for his moment. It came in the second frame, he hurt the American black belt with a straight right, followed him to the floor, and blasted him with punches until he turned away. “The Dentist” halted a three-fight losing streak with the victory, and takes home and extra $50,000 for his efforts.
England-based Brazilian Claudio Silva returned from an even longer layoff than Breese, as he fought for the first time in nearly four years. He made sure his comeback was a triumphant one, and against a very tough opponent in Canadian Nordine Taleb. In the first round, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt caught a leg kick and forced the fight into his world. Taleb attempted an ill-advised leg lock from his back, which Silva countered with heavy ground and pound. He soon moved to mount, took the back, and applied a squeeze that – although across Taleb’s chin – forced the tap. “Hannibal” will wake up Monday morning $50,000 richer for his efforts.
Finally, featherweight prospect Arnold Allen pulled off an incredible come-from-behind submission in the third round against Mads Burnell. The Dane’s tricky head movement, underrated boxing, and strong wrestling kept Allen on the defensive for much of the fight, particularly the final two rounds. But with his back to the wall, literally and figuratively, Allen snatched a ninja choke as Burnell dropped levels for another double-leg takedown, exposing his neck. Allen cinched the hold, and though Burnell tried to go to his back to alleviate the pressure, there was no escape. “Almighty” Allen earned the tapout and an extra $50,000 for his efforts.
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