Nate Diaz earned his third “Submission of the Night” bonus on Saturday. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Jon Jones, Quinton Jackson, Josh Koscheck and Nate Diaz each pocketed an extra $75,000 on Saturday night for their performances at UFC 135.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jones and challenger Jackson shared “Fight of the Night” honors for their four rounds of effort in the evening’s main event. Diaz took home “Submission of the Night” for his dominant, first-round victory over former Pride Fighting Championships lightweight ace Takanori Gomi, while Koscheck was awarded “Knockout of the Night” after relieving UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes of his consciousness in their welterweight co-main event.
Emanating from the Pepsi Center in Denver, UFC 135 marked the promotion’s first event in the Mile-High City since Ultimate Ultimate 1995.
Jones kept Jackson at bay easily for three rounds, using his massive reach advantage to stifle any offense from the challenger. In round four, “Bones” took the fight to the floor with ease, digging in one hook and locking up a rear-naked choke. Though “Rampage” attempted to roll out of the choke, Jones stayed with him and tightened his squeeze to retain his title in his first defense.
Though Hughes looked comfortable in the standup for a time during his short bout with Koscheck, the younger, faster fighter would ultimately prevail. After eating a few stiff shots from the former two-time welterweight champion, Koscheck clipped Hughes with series of right hands that staggered the UFC Hall of Famer. Following a takedown, Koscheck dropped ground-and-pound without mercy, knockout Hughes out, face down, at 4:59 of round one.
Diaz could do no wrong in his scrap with Gomi, even trumping brother Nick Diaz’s impressive performance against the revered “Fireball Kid” in 2007. The Cesar Gracie product used sharp boxing to keep Gomi at bay, continually peppering the Japanese icon with hard shots. Diaz also dominated on the floor, as he used superior technique from his back to lock up a triangle choke before transitioning to a fight-ending armbar with only 33 seconds remaining in the first frame.