In the buildup to UFC Vegas 35, Giga Chikadze proclaimed that he had the best striking in the UFC.
Saturday night against Edson Barboza, the Georgian featherweight went a long way toward proving just that. On a night where four Performance of the Night bonuses were handed out, Chikadze’s was perhaps the most obvious. Unbeaten to date inside the octagon, Chikadze put on a striking clinic in the main event, dazzling with kicks high and low before catching the battle-tested Barboza with a series of punches that put him out.
Barboza, always a danger himself, had been rocked several times in the fight, forced to retreat, and was under heavy fire when the end came.
For Chikadze, the bonus marks his third consecutive Performance of the Night award.
The remaining bonuses at UFC Vegas 35 went to a head kick knockout, a heel hook, and another upset submission. In the latter, Gerald Meerschaert managed to hang in there on the feet with top prospect Makhmud Muradov — and once the fight got to the ground, “GM3” was able to sink in a rear-naked choke and force the tap from The Money Team fighter.
Pat Sabatini earned his second straight UFC victory on Saturday night, and also picked up his own $50,000 Performance bonus for his efforts. His win saw him lock on with a heel hook on Jamall Emmers.
Abdul Razak Alhassan, meanwhile, finally got back in the win column with a head kick KO of Alessio Di Chirico. The victory was his first since September 2018.
All four fighters will pocket an extra $50,000 for their bonus wins.
While no Fight of the Night was awarded at UFC Vegas 35, TUF 29 bantamweight finalists Ricky Turcious, who won the final, and Brady Hiestand will be pocketing some extra dough. That’s according to UFC President Dana White. “It was a great fight, split decision, and give them a check too,” White stated during Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It isn’t going to be $50,000 but it’ll be good. They won’t be disappointed.”