UFC FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES – WELL-DESERVED
Last night’s UFC Fight Night event in Hidalgo, Tex. was a rollercoaster of a card with a variety of quick, flashy finishes mixed in with some long, uneventful decisions. Michael Johnson showed that he is far from done, knocking out Dustin Poirier in 1:35 of the first round and took home a $50,000 performance bonus for his efforts.
The other performance bonus, and one of the most impressive and quick finishes in recent memory, went to Chas Skelly for his 19-second submission of Maximo Blanco. Both Skelly and Blanco sprinted to the center of the cage to start the fight and threw flying kicks but it was Skelly’s that landed, stunning Blanco long enough for him to cinch in a choke and finish the fight.
The Fight of the Night award went to UFC veteran Evan Dunham and Rick Glenn. Dunham defeated Glenn by unanimous decision in a fight that saw Dunham dominate early, but he couldn’t put away the resilient former WSOF Champion who was filling in on short notice. By the third round, Glenn was battered and wobbly but still able to hurt Dunham in a back and forth finish to an entertaining fight. Glenn may have lost the fight, but the $50k and a likely second shot at a UFC fight should be acceptable consolation prizes.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I agree with all of these choices. I didn’t see Johnson knocking out Poirier like that, and it was very impressive and will keep him in the mix at 155. Johnson has some wins over top competition in the weight class but also some performances he probably wishes he could take back so it will be interesting to see if he can keep the momentum going against another top ten opponent in his next fight. He’s going to be a popular call-out for the next little bit as he looked really good in a TV main event, but other top lightweights will likely see it as a winnable fight, which makes Johnson an attractive pick. Case in point, Anthony Pettis, who just moved down to featherweight after three straight losses at 155, petitioned for a fight with Johnson on Twitter right after the fight.
The sequence that saw Skelly beat Blanco was one of those one in a million things that you couldn’t replicate if you tried and if this was on a show that more people saw or took place in another era of UFC with less fights happening, it would have been a star making performance. At the very least he has a great highlight for his pre-fight video packages for the rest of his UFC career.
I loved the Dunham-Glenn fight. Speaking of other eras, Dunham is one of the last vestiges of a bygone UFC era, that of the gritty, always moving forward kind of cage fighter. There will always be a place for fighters like Dunham on these shows as long as he’s healthy and wants to fight. His days of getting to title contention are likely over, but he can always be counted on for an entertaining fight.
If you didn’t see the show, be sure to read my UFC Fight Night report and check out the above-mentioned fights and also Derek Brunson’s knockout of Uriah Hall. I thought the stoppage was early but letting it go longer may have just been delaying the inevitable.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Last night’s Fight Night from State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas drew 5,624 fans to the arena with a 6,800 person capacity for a paid gate of $323,419.
-UFC 203 appears to have done between 425,000-475,000 pay-per-view buys according to Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting. This would be at the lower end of some very early projections but still significantly more than what the show likely would have done without CM Punk fighting on the card.
-Conor McGregor recently filmed some footage and will be appearing in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare video game to be released Nov. 4.
NEXT CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S NEWS DIGEST: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/17: Woodley vs. Thompson set for NYC, Punk’s drawing power, Kongo bests Johnson, MacDonald on fighting Sonnen
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)