A pair of promotional newcomers who opened the UFC 252 card took home Fight of the Night honors on Saturday.
Kai Kamaka III and Tony Kelley weren’t even on the radar a week ago. But following the UFC’s latest tentpole event, they’re $50,000 richer after a spirited back-and-forth effort. The featherweight pairing threw down on the early prelims, where they served as the curtain jerker. For those that tuned into the card early, however, well they were in for a treat. Ultimately Kamaka would take home the win, thanks to a game plan that involved a steady stream of body shots.
Performance of the Night awards went to Virna Jandiroba and Daniel Pineda. Jandiroba, a former Invicta FC strawweight champion, wasted no time in taking down and submitting the returning Felice Herrig. “Lil Bulldog” had not competed since 2018, and was coming off a knee injury. Whether that factored in or not, Brazil’s Jandiroba made it a very short night for the popular figure.
Daniel Pineda was also making a return at UFC 252, after being out of the promotion six years. He certainly got off to a good start in his second UFC run, showing a wealth of confidence by going to the ground with Herbert Burns. Burns, who missed weight, is likely one of the more feared BJJ practitioners in the featherweight division, but Pineda was able to trap him in a crucifix and smash him into submission with some hellacious elbows.