A heavyweight few outside of Australia had ever heard of shocked in his debut at UFC Sydney. As a result, he has been rewarded handsomely for his efforts.
UFC Fight Night 121 wasn’t a bad card, nor was it a contender for sleeper of the year or anything close. Paling in comparison to UFC 217 and UFC Norfolk, UFC Sydney was exactly what it appeared to be on paper. That’s a middle-of-the-road card lacking star power, that as expected produced at least a couple of exciting fights. That made picking the bonuses winners a fairly easy task, and it was no surprise that Tai Tuivasa was among them.
The Australian heavyweight sent shockwaves through the division (and frankly the arena) when he landed a flying knee on Rashad Coulter in their preliminary card bout. Big even by big man standards, Tuivasa first kicked Coulter’s legs out from under him. Then he caught him with the knee as Coulter was on his way up. A flying knee in the Bellator debut of Tywan Claxton? Sure. From a guy walking around at 250lbs or more? There’s something you don’t see every day.
WOW!!! @BamBamTuivasa delivers a spectacular KO at #UFCSydney! pic.twitter.com/ZEiG18wAbt
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) November 19, 2017
The knee was easily enough to earn Tuivasa a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.
Not surprisingly, Fight of the Night went to Frank Camacho and Damien Brown, whose three-round stand-up war was bloody, and bloody good. With the crowd on its feet and both men swinging to the bell, there was never any question that their scrap would be a contender for Fight of the Night. Ultimately, no one else really came close.
The final Performance of the Night bonus was perhaps the only question mark of the bunch. With a couple of fights to choose from (Ryan Benoit’s head kick finish of Ashkan Mokhtarian being the other), the UFC opted to award Nik Lentz for his come-from-behind submission of ‘Ill’ Will Brooks.