There were some tough decisions to make regarding post-fight bonuses following UFC on Fox 23, but ultimately Valentina Shevchenko, Jorge Masvidal, Francis Ngannou and Jason Knight each received $50,000 “Performance of the Night” awards.
Shevchenko received “Performance of the Night” for her surprising submission of Julianna Pena in the evening’s main event at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Pena spent much of the second frame working in Shevchenko’s guard, but the Kyrgyzstani kickboxer was able to force a scramble and transition to an armbar to elicit a tapout 4:29 into the period.
Masvidal garnered “Performance of the Night” honors for his second-round technical knockout of Donald Cerrone in the UFC on Fox 23 co-main event in Denver on Saturday. “Gamebred” appeared to have stopped Cerrone with a flurry of punches at the end of the first frame, but referee Herb Dean ruled that the welterweight bout would continue into the second stanza. The American Top Team product wasted little time going for the kill, dropping Cerrone with a counter right hand and then pounding away with left hands to the body and head for a stoppage at the 1:00 minute mark.
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Elsewhere, Francis Ngannou earned a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for his first-round knockout of former champ Andrei Arlovski in a featured heavyweight tilt. A counter right hand from “The Predator” sent Arlovski to his knees and Ngannou pounded away from there, forcing a stoppage at the 1:32 mark of the frame.
Finally, Jason Knight took home the card’s final performance check for his victory over Alex Caceres in a featured featherweight tilt. Knight’s trademark aggression was on display throughout, and he clinched victory by scrambling to Caceres’ back, locking in a body triangle and using ground-and-pound to set up a fight-ending rear-naked choke 4:21 into round two.
While a highly entertaining preliminary welterweight clash between Jingliang Li and Bobby Nash missed out on post-fight honors, it wasn’t forgotten by UFC President Dana White.
“I’m gonna give those guys a little something too,” White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference.