Brandon Moreno, Luis Henrique da Silva, Nate Marquardt and Curtis Blaydes all received $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonuses for their work at UFC Fight Night 96 in Portland, Ore., on Saturday.
Moreno, a short-notice replacement for Sergio Pettis, received a “Performance of the Night” check for his electrifying upset of Louis Smolka. After some early back-and-forth action, “The Ultimate Fighter 24” cast member trapped Smolka in a guillotine choke after his opponent attempted a single-leg takedown. Moreno nearly lost the choke when Smolka got to his feet, but the Mexican fighter jumped guard again and secured the tapout 2:23 into round one.
Da Silva, meanwhile, had to overcome some adversity to earn his $50,000. After being dropped by a Joachim Christensen knee in the second frame, the Brazilian survived some ground-and-pound, scrambled into top position and ultimately transitioned to a fight-ending armbar at the 4:43 mark.
Elsewhere, Marquardt also captured a “Performance of the Night” award, as he knocked out Tamdan McCrory 4:44 into the second round of their middleweight encounter. The former title challenger wobbled McCroy with an overhand right before knocking “The Barncat” out cold with a left high kick for his second victory in three Octagon appearances.
Finally, Blaydes padded his bank account with a second-round TKO stoppage of Cody East in a heavyweight clash. “Razor” put his opponent away with a series of unanswered elbows to the side of the head, bringing a halt to the contest at the 2:02 mark of the period.