Four men took home post-fight bonuses from UFC 153 on Saturday night, as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Jon Fitch, Erick Silva and Rony Mariano Bezerra were all awarded an extra $70,000 for their efforts at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Nogueira snatched the submission bonus by catching Dave Herman in a second-round armbar in the co-main event, and Bezerra earned “Knockout of the Night” honors for his finish of Sam Sicilia on the evening’s undercard. Meanwhile, “Fight of the Night” went to Fitch and Silva for their back-and-forth welterweight affair.
After repeatedly tagging Herman with punches in the first frame, Nogueira finally found the heavy shot he was searching for in the second stanza, dropping his foe with a hard left hook. Though Herman would escape an armbar attempt and return to his feet, the Brazilian quickly dragged him back to the mat and this time kept him there, locking up a straight armbar that forced the tap at 4:31 of round two.
Fitch used his experience to grind down the younger, more athletic Silva, threatening to take the Brazilian’s back multiple times in round one and then weathering a surge from the 28-year-old in the second frame that saw Silva earn back control and nearly sink a rear-naked choke. Round three would be Fitch’s time to shine, however, as the American Kickboxing Academy standout mounted Silva, raining down punches from the dominant position to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Bezerra and Sicilia both landed solidly in the first round, but “Rony Jason” appeared to get the better of the exchanges during a busy opening frame. The featherweights maintained their pace for most of the second round, until the Brazilian ended the fight with a beautiful counter punch, catching a kick from his fellow “Ultimate Fighter” alum and cracking Sicilia with a straight right hand before finishing the job with ground-and-pound with less than a minute remaining in the second.