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Perhaps surprisingly, given the number of finishes and tremendous back-and-forth battles, UFC on ESPN 27 saw just four bonuses. Winning out for fight of the night in the hotly-contested field was Kyler Phillips against Raulian Paiva, a majority decision that saw an incredible comeback by the Brazilian.
In Round 1, Phillips battered Paiva from pillar to post, visibly hurting him again and again with a deadly cross and coming very close to a stoppage on several occasions. Despite the dominance and damage of the stanza, only one judge gave Phillips the 10-8 round. This opened the door for Paiva, who, after Phillips gassed himself going so hard for the finish, came back to win Round 2 and then barely edged out his rival in Round 3. While most media members and fans alike saw it as a 28-28 draw, two of the three judges had it 29-28 Paiva, garnering him the victory. Both fighters, however, received $50,000 for their heroics in the co-main event.
A stingy two performance bonuses were given, as Adrian Yanez and Darren Elkins also pocketed their own checks.
Yanez was involved in his own barnburner of a contest. In the opening round, Randy Costa looked fantastic, repeatedly stunning and bloodying his opponent, and appearing to have him in trouble at one point. However, Yanez weathered the storm, and in the following round, as Costa tired, the tough Texan took over with a series of gorgeous, textbook-perfect punches, punctuated by one of the prettiest uppercuts you will see in mixed martial arts, gaining him his third straight Performance of the Night bonus.
Gritty 37 year-old veteran Darren Elkins authored his own Round 2 comeback against Darrick Minner. After being thoroughly out-grappled, hurt, and bloodied in the first 5 minutes, and with Round 2 starting out with more of the same, the grizzled veteran suddenly discovered his opponent was badly gassed. Seizing the opportunity, Elkins gained top position and from there, had his way with Minner, going through side-control, mount, and a crucifix, but continually pummeling his opponent with short shots that Minner was entirely incapable of stopping. After Elkins landed almost 100 strikes in the period, referee Mark Smith stepped in, calling a halt to the action at 3:48 of Round 2.
In terms of snubs, Julio Arce didn't receive a performance bonus for a fine knockout in his bantamweight debut against skilled striker Andre Ewell. Nor did Nassourdine Imavov get one for a sensational stoppage over favored Ian Heinisch, who was finished for the first time in his UFC career, and the first in his entire career from strikes.
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