Makhachev, Muhammad Earn Performance Bonuses, O’Malley-Yan Gets Fight of the Night at UFC 280

Petr Yan and Sean O'Malley, UFC 280
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 22: (R-L) Sean O'Malley punches Petr Yan of Russia in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

UFC 280’s main card lived up to the hype on Saturday, with three of four bonus winners coming from the Pay-Per-View portion of the Abu Dhabi-based event.

Three big fights capped off the night, and while an injured T.J. Dillashaw falling to Aljamain Sterling wasn’t enough to generate any bonus money, the card’s other big bantamweight fight did. That saw Sean O’Malley claim a very close split decision win over ex-champ Petr Yan, in a fight that many saw going the other way. While O’Malley clearly won the third, and Yan more than likely the second, it all came down to the first — which, admittedly, saw a razor-thin margin between the two.

O’Malley and Yan picked up Fight of the Night at the event, in a bout that may have tapped the next title challenger in the division. With Sterling also victorious, a title fight between the two could come in the first half of 2023.

Performance of the Night bonuses at UFC 280 went to the new champ, Islam Makhachev, and welterweight contender Belal Muhammad. Makhachev put away Charles Oliveira in the second round to claim the vacant lightweight title, beating the Brazilian at his own game, rocking then submitting him with an arm-triangle choke. The win extended Makhachev’s win streak to 11 straight victories, and he was presented the belt by friend, teammate, and former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Muhammad, meanwhile, became the first man to both beat and finish Sean Brady in the featured preliminary card fight at UFC 280. The TKO was called with Brady still on his feet, but not intelligently defending, towards the end of the second round.

All four fighters pocket an extra $50,000 for their work at UFC 280.