Luke Rockhold may have been critical of the UFC’s post-fight bonuses ahead of the UFC 278, but the retiring former middleweight champion pocketed one last $50,000 paycheck in what appears to be his final fight.
Rockhold went the distance with Paulo Costa in Saturday’s co-main event in Salt Lake City, in an exhausting bout that saw the ex-champ have his moments, but ultimately lose a unanimous decision. Rockhold found success with his kicks, and had Costa hurt at times, but the Brazilian never let up on the pressure, and won on all three scorecards.
After the fight, Rockhold announced his retirement, saying he’d given it his all. The bout picked up Fight of the Night honors, and may be most memorable for Rockhold rubbing his own bloodied face into Costa’s while on the ground in the dying seconds of the fight.
Performance of the Night bonuses at UFC 278 were awarded to Leon Edwards and Victor Altamirano — the fights that served as bookends to the evening. Altamirano opened the night with a TKO finish of Daniel Da Silva, while Edwards floored reigning champ Kamaru Usman with a head kick.
To that point of the main event, Edwards had been losing the fight, with the opening round the only bright spot for the challenger. All that was forgotten with less than a minute left in the fifth round, in one of the most memorable title fight finishes in history.