Marvin Vettori accepted the challenge of moving up a weight class to fight Paulo Costa at UFC Fight Night 196, and it paid off handsomely for “The Italian Dream.”
Vettori received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” check for a unanimous decision victory over Costa in Saturday’s headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The bout was originally scheduled to be contested at 185 pounds until Costa revealed that he wouldn’t be able to make weight, so it was then changed to a 205-pound bout. Vettori took the change in stride, as he set a light heayweight record with 190 significant strikes landed in the five-round affair.
Elsewhere, Alex Caceres pocketed a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for a first-round submission of Seung Woo Choi in a featured featherweight scrap. After a difficult opening round in which he was rocked by a right hand and an illegal knee, Caceres rebounded to submit Choi with a rear-naked choke at the 3:31 mark of Round 2.
Finally, Gregory Rodrigues and Jun Young Park earned “Fight of the Night” honors and $50,000 apiece for their middleweight brawl on the preliminary card. Rodrigues rallied from the brink of defeat in Round 2, as he shook off a salvo of punches from his foe to push Park into the fence with an onslaught of his own before sealing the victory with an uppercut at the 3:13 mark of the period.
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