Raoni Barcelos and Khalid Taha brought the heat for 15 full minutes at UFC on ESPN 17.
The bantamweight competitors were rewarded for their efforts with “Fight of the Night” and $50,000 apiece on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Barcelos set a tremendous pace throughout the bout and appeared to be on the verge of putting his opponent away on a few occasions, but Taha stayed in the fight and made it to the final horn. Still, it was Barcelos who emerged with a well-deserved unanimous decision triumph.
Elsewhere, Giga Chikadze pocketed a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for a quick finish of replacement foe James Krause-Simmons in a featured featherweight matchup. After a feeling-out process, Chikadze felled Krause-Simmons with a body kick followed by a head kick. Standing-to-ground punches ended the bout 3:51 into the first frame.
Finally, heavyweight submission artist Alexander Romanov earned the evening’s other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” check thanks to a tapout of Marcos Rogerio de Lima in a preliminary affair. Romanov walked through a barrage of low kicks and power punches from his Brazilian opponent to end the contest with a rarely-seen forearm choke 4:48 into the first round.
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