It’s hard to put a price on Justin Gaethje’s memorable Ultimate Fighter Championship debut, but the $100,000 worth of bonus checks he received afterward was certainly well deserved.
The former World Series of Fighting lightweight king combined with headlining foe Michael Johnson to earn “Fight of the Night” honors and $50,000 apiece in "The Ultimate Fighter 25” finale headliner at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday night. “The Highlight” was rocked on a couple occasions early, but he remained relentless with his forward pressure and unyielding offense.
Eventually, Gaethje put Johnson on wobbly legs and followed him to the fence with a flying knee. Then, a couple more uppercuts and knees against the cage put “The Menace” away for good 4:48 into the second round. For his efforts, the Grudge Training Center product also received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Elsewhere, Tecia Torres received the evening’s other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for the first finish of her professional career against Juliana Lima in a preliminary strawweight contest. Early in the second stanza, Torres sprawled on a takedown attempt and transitioned to the back of her opponent. From there, “The Tiny Tornado” secured a rear-naked choke 53 seconds into the frame.