It’s been a while since we’ve heard any mention of discretionary bonuses in the UFC. But when the post-fight bonuses were handed out Saturday night following UFC Vegas, there was a glaring omission. Somehow, Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle had been left out in the cold.
The three-round catchweight scrap (no one missed weight, this was a rare agreed upon 150lb fight in the UFC) was wildly entertaining. It started with Spike Carlyle charging across the cage to deliver a flying kick off the opening bell. That led to him unloading on Quarantillo, then some mad scrambles, with both men having control at times. Carlyle clearly took the frame, though he nearly got himself knocked out when he turned his back on the opponent seconds before the buzzer to end the round.
The second round was fast and furious as well. Carlyle seemed to hurt Quarantillo early. Later in the round, Quarantillo was in control. Hunting for submissions. Ultimately, round two was a toss-up.
In the final frame, the pace slowed a tick. Albeit they swung to the end. Quarantillo clearly took the round, meaning the decision would come down to how the judges saw round two. In the end, all three awarded the fight to Billy Quarantillo, 29-28.
It was edge-of-your-seat stuff, but somehow didn’t earn Fight of the Night. Something Dana White immediately addressed at the post-fight press conference following UFC Vegas.
“No gate. No fans. I want your opinion on something too. Fight of the Night was Elliot and Royval. And Performance of the Night was Dern and Burns,” he opened.
“What did you guys think was the Fight of the Night?” he then asked the assembled media, a smaller group these days as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The resounding answer was Carlyle vs. Quarantillo.
“Is that what everybody thinks? Yeah,” White responded. “We had a hard time back there tonight. Which is always good, when it’s a hard time. But I hate seeing some of these kids get— We’ll figure it out. I’ll give them something.”
That’s good news for both Billy Quarantillo, and Spike Carlyle, who both look to be fighters to watch moving forward. Carlyle (9-2), known as “The Alpha Ginger,” is just two fights into his UFC career. At 1-1 inside the octagon, he’s made a big impression in both fights. And Quarantillo (14-2), a Contender Series winner, is 2-0 on the big stage.
The decision on the bonuses, White later noted, comes down to himself and matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard. “We blew it, huh? Is that what you’re telling us? You’re telling us we blew it tonight?” White asked.
“That bums me out. That bums me out. We all felt like, if you looked at that Tim Elliott fight with Royval, it was super technical,” he explained. “That fight was super technical, they were going back and forth. I dunno. We felt that was Fight of the Night.”
“The other dudes, was an absolute straight up dogfight. Absolutely the Carlyle fight was a straight dogfight. I’ll kick those kids something,” he reiterated.