UFC 266 had some wild fights, and some wild finishes.
A card that was maybe a little less hyped that other number UFC events, the Las Vegas show still delivered right from the outset. From a 15-second KO by Matthew Semelsberger, to Jessica Andrade’s domination of Cynthia Calvillo, to Valentina Shevchenko tying a title defense record, there were plenty of big performances.
Few, however, matched that of Merab Dvalishvili, who gave as good as he got in a two-round war with Marlon Moraes.
Early on, it looked like Moraes had the win locked up. Davlishvili was on skates, lit up on the feet by the Brazilian. Just when it looked like it was over, he managed to secure a takedown, and was soon landing ground n’ pound to the point that it seemed Moraes was out.
He wasn’t, or at least it was a flash knockout. The fight went to the second round, but when Dvalishvili got the action back on the mat, it was a done deal.
While the bout was in the running for Fight of the Night, and the opening five minutes arguably a lock as Round of the Year, the FOTN bonus went elsewhere. Instead, Merab Dvalishvili took home one of the two Performance of the Night bonuses awarded at UFC 266.
The other went to heavyweight Chris Daukaus, who also had a wild fight, albeit a more one-sided one. In essence, Daukaus finished Shamil Abdurakhimov twice in one fight, thanks to his opponent being saved by the bell.
For Daukuas, it’s his third straight Performance of the Night bonus. He’s now won all four of his UFC bouts to date, with stoppages in all four.
Fight of the Night at UFC 266 went to the thrilling featherweight championship main event between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. Volkanovski had the better of the challenger throughout, but particularly in the later rounds, Ortega threatened with submission attempt after submission attempt, despite being battered from pillar to post.
All four fighters pocket an extra $50,000 for their efforts at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.