Uriah Hall cashed in with his big win. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Against the most accomplished opponent he’s faced in the Octagon to date, Uriah Hall showcased the talent that had many calling him the UFC’s next breakout star during “The Ultimate Fighter 17.”
Hall pocketed a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus -- one of four such awards issued by the UFC -- for his second-round technical knockout victory over ex-Strikeforce titlist Gegard Mousasi in the UFC Fight Night co-headliner on Saturday night. After looking overwhelmed on the mat in the opening frame, “Primetime” turned the tide in the second stanza by rocking his foe with a spinning back kick to the face followed by a flying knee. From there, Hall pounded away with follow-up punches against a defenseless Mousasi until referee Greg Kleynjans called a halt to the contest 25 seconds into round two.
Meanwhile, Josh Barnett made an impressive return to action in the evening’s main event, as he battered Roy Nelson in the clinch for the better part of five rounds en route to a unanimous decision triumph. For his efforts, “The Warmaster” garnered a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award.
Elsewhere, Diego Brandao earned the card’s third $50,000 bonus for his explosive finish of Katsunori Kikuno. Brandao wasted little time setting the tone in the matchup, as he dropped his Japanese foe with a massive overhand right just seconds into their featherweight encounter. From there, “The Ultimate Fighter 14” winner aggressively pursued the finish before putting a reeling Kikuno away with a series of unanswered right hands near the fence for his second straight triumph.
Keita Nakamura captured the final $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for a come-from-behind triumph over Jingliang Li. Li appeared to have Keita Nakamura reeling on a couple occasions, including early in the third round of their welterweight scrap. However, Nakamura recovered from a left hook that rocked him in the final frame to take Li’s back and secure a spectacular comeback win via rear-naked choke 2:17 into round three.