Following Saturday’s UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center in Dallas, UFC president Dana White announced the recipients of the performance-based bonuses.
Fight Of The Night: Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France
A rematch nearly three years in the making concluded with Mexico’s Brandon Moreno claiming his spot as the interim UFC flyweight champion following a third-round finish over Kai Kara-France of New Zealand.
After a back-and-forth first round, Moreno did solid work of evading Kara-France’s pressure and right hand to advance to an exciting third round. In the third, Moreno was cut under his eye by the Kiwi following a sweep and short sequence of heavy ground-and-pound strikes, but it didn’t stop him from landing a perfect kick flush to the liver, dropping Kara-France before finishing him off with strikes from the top before referee Herb Dean stepped in with just 26 seconds to go in the third round.
A potential fourth fight in the Moreno-Figueiredo saga was set up inside the Octagon when the undisputed flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo joined Moreno for a short but respectful faceoff, adding that he’d like to unify the flyweight division in his native Brazil.
Performance Of The Night: Alexandre Pantoja
With interim flyweight gold on the line later in the night, Alexandre Pantoja staked his claim at a crack at the title himself when he blitzed Alex Perez and sunk in a first-round submission less than two minutes into the opening frame.
From the jump, Pantoja jumped on Perez, peppering him with punch and swarming him wholly. Soon, Perez backed up and Pantoja executed a beautiful back-take, locking in the body triangle while Perez stood against the cage and focused on fighting hands. Pantoja remained furious in his attempts to finish the fight, and locked in a rear naked choke that wasn’t under the chin but put enough pressure on Perez’s jaw and neck to get the tapout victory.
Performance Of The Night: Drew Dober
Colorado’s Drew Dober said he always brings his chin and his heavy left hand to the Octagon, and he also relied on his grittiness to get a knockout win over Rafael Alves in the third round.
After weathering the early storm from the explosive Alves, Dober started to work Alves’ body as the Brazilian tired. Although Alves slugged it out with Dober to end the second, Dober clearly had gained momentum and control of the fight. The high pace continued in the third round, and seemingly out of nowhere, Dober connected with a perfectly placed left hook to the body that melted Alves and earned Dober another stoppage victory.