After a successful second outing on ESPN+, the UFC opted to hand out four Performance of the Night awards after UFC Fortaleza, on a night brimming with finishes.
UFC Fortaleza had plenty to get fans on their feet. Five finishes topped the card. A number of exciting fights ended well shy of the bell. A legend reminded everyone why he was the best featherweight in the division’s history, and a new contender emerged at bantamweight. So it’s not surprising the UFC was eager to reward some of those individual feats — with names like Jose Aldo and Charles Oliveira in the mix.
That said, the biggest surprise in UFC Fortaleza’s post-fight ceremonies was that no fight of the night was awarded, despite a hotly contested battle between Thiago Alves and Max Griffin. Still, it’s hard to argue against any of the names rewarded, including Aldo, Oliveira, Marlon Moraes, and Johnny Walker.
Moraes earned his reward for a first round submission of Raphael Assuncao, of course. That evened their career series at one win a piece. More importantly, it was the fourth straight victory for the former WSOF bantamweight champion. He’s now the frontrunner for the next title shot in the 135lb division. At least among natural bantamweights.
Aldo, meanwhile, finished countryman Renato Moicano in emphatic fashion, after a bit of a slow start in the first round. The second round of the co-main event, however, was a vastly different affair. Aldo landed to the body, then chased Moicano down, battering him for the TKO win. The ref waved off the assault while Moicano was still standing.
Oliveira nearly had a similar TKO finish against David Teymur, who had been undefeated through five UFC contests. However, a quickly-secured anaconda choke earned him the submission win instead.
— UFC (@ufc) February 3, 2019
Finally, Johnny Walker took just fifteen seconds to dispose of Justin Ledet, a finish that was nearly marred by a soccer kick attempt. Luckily, it didn’t connect.
All four fighters will pick up $50,000 for their Performance of the Night awards.