The UFC handed out four post-fight bonuses after Saturday’s card, including two to the winners of the main and co-main event title fights.
After UFC 281, four fighters picked up an extra $50,000 for their performances in New York. Check out the winners below.
Performance of the Night: Zhang Weili
Zhang Weili (23-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) was the biggest favorite on the card against women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC), who was putting the belt on the line for the first time in her second stint with the title. But former champ Weili lived up to the promise of those betting odds and choked Esparza out in the second round.
Performance of the Night: Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) still has the Israel Adesanya’s number. Pereira upset Adesnaya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) to win the middleweight title with a fifth-round TKO. Pereira had two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, and was fighting for just the fourth time in the UFC. He was down 3-1 on all three judges’ scorecards heading into the final round. But he stunned Adesanya along the fence, then put him away to win the belt.
Fight of the Night: Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
The lightweight fight between Dustin Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC) and former Bellator champ Michael Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) had that proverbial “Fight of the Night written all over it” vibe, and it lived up to the hype. Poirier had a good first round, then was dominated by Chandler in the second. But one wrong move by Chandler in the third gave Poirier a chance to go after a choke, and eventually he sank it in to get the tap.