Kelvin Gastelum’s journey to middleweight is paying off handsomely.
Gastelum earned a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for dismantling Vitor Belfort in the UFC Fight Night 106 main event at the Olympic Training Center in Fortaleza on Saturday night. The 25-year-old Yuma, Ariz., native dropped “The Phenom” twice in the opening stanza, finishing his Brazilian opponent on the second occasion with a follow-up punches at the 3:52 mark.
Meanwhile, Edson Barboza submitted an early candidate for 2017 “Knockout of the Year” against Beneil Dariush and garnered a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts. The Brazilian made Dariush pay for his forward pressure, knocking out the Kings MMA product with a perfectly timed leaping knee as his opponent was shooting forward 3:35 into the second frame.
Elsewhere, Michel Prazeres received a $50,000 performance bonus for his first round submission of Joshua Burkman in a preliminary lightweight bout. Prazeres tapped his opponent with a north-south choke 1:42 into round one, making him just the fourth fighter in promotion history to win via that maneuver.
Finally, UFC newcomer Paulo Henrique Costa took home the final $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award, as kept his first-round finishing streak alive in his Octagon debut. “Borrachinha” pushed foe Garreth McLellan into the fence, sprawled on a takedown and clinched the victory with a barrage of lefts, rights and hammerfists 77 seconds into the opening stanza.