Thiago Tavares and Brian Ortega had a bloody battle in “The Big Easy.” | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
On a memorable UFC Fight Night card that featured 10 finishes among its 12 bouts, no scrap stood out more than Brian Ortega’s raucous featherweight encounter with Thiago Tavares.
Ortega and Tavares earned $50,000 “Fight of the Night” paychecks for their battle at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, which Ortega won via technical knockout 4:10 into the final frame. While Tavares did plenty of good work with takedowns and ground-and-pound, Ortega responded with an active attack from his back. The RFA veteran opened a cut near the Brazilian’s right eye with elbow strikes and repeatedly hunted for submissions before turning the tide for good with a two-punch combo in round three. Ortega followed his foe to the mat and unleashed a flurry of punches from full mount to force the stoppage.
Meanwhile, Dustin Poirier garnered a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for an impressive homecoming showing. The American Top Team product – and Louisiana native -- continued to look reborn at 155 pounds, as he overwhelmed Yancy Medeiros inside of a round in their featured tussle. “The Diamond” floored Medeiros twice early before hunting for a rear-naked choke on the mat. The Hawaiian returned to his feet but was still reeling, and Poirier polished his foe off with a series of hooks and uppercuts against the fence.
Finally, former LSU football player Shawn Jordan captured the evening’s other $50,000 performance award in a rematch with fellow Louisianan Derrick Lewis. The stocky heavyweight dispatched his opponent in unlikely fashion, as he finished off “The Black Beast” with a hook kick and follow-up punches 48 seconds into the second round of their preliminary tilt.