UFC 212 Bonus Winners: Brian Kelleher’s Incredible Story Gets Happy Ending

UFC 212
Credit: Joao Baptista/Sherdog.com

A little known but highly entertaining narrative came to a very happy ending at UFC 212 last night. Just months ago, Brian Kelleher was tweeting MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani for tickets to UFC 205 in New York. In Rio de Janeiro last night, he made his UFC debut – and immediately made a huge impact. As a result, Kelleher, along with Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, and Claudia Gadelha, are all $50,000 richer.

Debuting bantamweight Kelleher (17-7) scored a huge upset with a guillotine choke submission win over Brazil’s Iuri Alcantara. The New York native, who has been fighting since 2009 and went pro in 2011, immediately campaigned for a bonus following the win. He also shushed the Brazilian crowd, much to their displeasure, as they heckled and jeered him for beating one of their own. Kelleher then addressed Dana White, saying “I don’t want the small fish, feed me to the sharks!”

In the end, Kelleher got his wish, being awarded a Performance of the Night bonus for the submission. In addition to Kelleher, strawweight Claudia Gadelha picked up a Performance of the Night award for her first round rear-naked choke win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Brazil’s Gadelha became the first woman to stop the Polish fighter as a result of the submission win.

Fight of the Night honors at UFC 212 went to the title unification bout between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway. Holloway silenced the Brazilian crowd, stunning those in attendance with a come from behind TKO victory in the third round. With the win, Holloway unified the featherweight title, becoming the undisputed king of the division. He also extended his win streak to eleven, an impressive feat in a division rife with killers.

All four fighters were awarded $50,000 for their efforts at UFC 212, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Jeunesse Arena. 15,412 were in attendance for the event.