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Carla Esparza, Alexa Grasso, Steven Peterson, and Paul Craig received $50,000 bonuses for their work at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City on Saturday.
Esparza and Grasso earned “Fight of the Night” honors for their entertaining strawweight scrap in the evening’s co-main event. While Esparza controlled much of the first two frames with her wrestling and top position, Grasso mounted a furious rally in Round 3, rocking her foe with a left hook during an exchange and nearly securing an armbar later in the frame. Ultimately, Esparza survived and won via majority decision.
Elsewhere, Steven Peterson captured a “Performance of the Night” paycheck for his spectacular knockout of Martin Bravo in a featured featherweight tilt. After getting outlanded by his opponent for much of the bout, Peterson countered a spinning backfist from Bravo with the same maneuver of his own. Bravo was rendered unconscious at the 1:31 mark of Round 2 due to Peterson’s “Knockout of the Year” candidate.
Finally, Paul Craig garnered the evening’s other “Performance of the Night” award for his submission of Vinicius Moreira Castro in a preliminary light heavyweight duel. Craig had his adversary reeling when he landed a pair of knees and a flurry of punches after denying a takedown attempt. From there, Craig took his Castro’s back and secured a rear-naked choke submission 3:19 into the opening stanza.