UFC Vegas 19 was a showcase for the UFC’s big men.
Saturday’s card featured four fights in the heavyweight division, and by the end of the night, three of them featured in the post-fight bonuses. There was little surprise there, given some of the big finishes in those fights.
Really, maybe the only surprise was the lack of a Fight of the Night. Darrick Minner vs. Charles Rosa seemed like it had a chance — but in the end, the promotion opted to reward four individual performances instead.
No surprise at all, Derrick Lewis was among the Performance of the Night bonus winners. His uppercut knockout of Curtis Blaydes in the second round of their main event showdown will live on via highlight reels for years to come. Lewis, now with 20 knockouts in his professional career, caught Blaydes changing levels for a takedown with a perfectly timed punch. Blaydes went stiff as a board, and ate two more heavy blows while asleep on the canvas before ref Herb Dean jumped in to make the save.
Heavyweight up-and-comers Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall will also see their bank accounts grow after UFC Vegas 19. Aspinall was up against ex-champ Andrei Arlovski on Saturday, in a youth versus experience match-up. Youth won. While Arlovski weathered an early storm in the opening round, and battled back to land a few heavy strikes of his own, the second round was a different story. Aspinall quickly powered into a double-leg takedown, took the back, and caught the Belarusian fighter in a rear-naked choke, forcing the tap.
Daukaus, meanwhile, avoided the takedowns and submissions of Aleksei Oleinik, and battered him along the fence to earn a TKO finish.
The only one of Saturday’s four Performance of the Night bonuses to not go to a heavyweight went to Aiemann Zahabi. The Canadian bantamweight landed a perfectly placed right hand on opponent Drako Rodriguez, ending his night early.
All four fighters will take home an extra $50,000 for their efforts.