UFC newcomer Steven Peterson didn’t get the win, but his heart helped earn him an extra $50,000 alongside opponent Brandon Davis at UFC Austin.
UFC Austin is likely the be remembered as a card that vastly outperformed expectations. The Fight Night event was decent on paper, but few were expecting the fights in Austin to deliver top to bottom. With not a dull moment in the bunch, bonus options were plentiful for the UFC. Sarah Moras and Lucie Pudilová could easily have been considered for Fight of the Night. Any number of finishers (there were eight!) were in the running for a Performance bonus as well.
While the UFC has occasionally split a bonus or two, they stuck with the usual pattern on Sunday. First up, Fight of the Night honors went to Steven ‘Ocho’ Peterson and Brandon Davis. Both veterans of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Peterson and Davis were a case of the old “styles make fights” adage. And in this case, their style resulted in the breakout of all-out war. Much to the adulation of the UFC Austin crowd. Peterson continually moved forward, looking to lure Davis into a brawl; Davis played a slightly more tactical game that eventually earned him the win, but not before both men were bloodied. Ocho’s heart shone through in the third when he was wobbled by a knee only to somehow remain standing and go on the offensive, but ultimately it was Davis with the win.
For Davis, he improves to 1-1 under the UFC banner. Meanwhile Peterson shouldn’t be too concerned about dropping his debut fight after that effort. Joining the pair as bonus winners, meanwhile, is ‘The Black Beast.’ The popular Derrick Lewis rallied back in the third round of his battle with Marcin Tybura to knock the Polish fighter out. The put Lewis back in the win column after a loss to Mark Hunt last year. It should also propel him closer to the heavyweight division’s top five. And just in the nick of time as contenders are in short supply.
The final bonus announced Sunday (or Monday morning on the east coast) belonged to Curtis Millender. The Bellator and LFA veteran drew a tough debut opponent in Thiago Alves — but showed he was more than a match, knocking ‘Pitbull’ down in the first before finishing him with a knee in the second round.