Demetrious Johnson had many observers giving him the proverbial pound-for-pound title for his work at UFC 197. The promotion gave him something more tangible.
Johnson ran roughshod over Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, earning a $50,000 “Performance of the Night’”bonus in one of his most dominant efforts as flyweight champion. “Mighty Mouse” overwhelmed Cejudo in the clinch, sapping his will with a knee to the midsection and putting him on wobbly legs with a crushing elbow to the head. From there, Johnson pummeled his foe with knees and punches to get the stoppage 2:49 into round one.
Meanwhile, Yair Rodriguez was an easy choice for the other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his second-round knockout of Andre Fili in a featured featherweight scrap. “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” winner knocked Fili unconscious with a flying roundhouse kick 2:15 into the period, a finish that will also be up for “Knockout of the Year” consideration at the end of 2016.
Elsewhere, Danny Roberts and Dominique Steele garnered “Fight of the Night” honors and $50,000 apiece for their preliminary welterweight scrap. Steele started quickly, staggering his foe with a combination and slamming his way out of a triangle in the first round. It was Roberts who asserted himself down the stretch, however, relying on superior conditioning and standup to capture a unanimous verdict.