The UFC’s first event of 2023, UFC Vegas 67, was as chaotic outside the cage as it was inside it.
With multiple big fights breaking throughout the evening (Jones vs. Gane, Edwards vs. Usman 3, Gaethje vs. Fiziev), and a couple of heartfelt tributes (to Victoria Lee, the late ONE Championship fighter, and Stephan Bonnar, late UFC Hall of Famer), it was sometimes difficult to remember that there even was an event unfolding at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Dan Ige, and three others, helped bring clarity on that front, providing some stunning finishes on a night that reminded fight fan why the UFC is at the forefront of mixed martial arts.
After a three week lull with only one card of note (Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN), the UFC returned with a Fight Night event plagued by injury — but one that, for the bulk of the show, entertained. Ige, in the co-main event, was at the forefront of that, scoring a walk-off KO is his featherweight fight with Damon Jackson.
That earned him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus, allowing the Hawaiian to live up to his “50K” nickname.
Also on the bonus list — with no Fight of the Night, all four winners took home Performance of the Night awards — was flyweight Allan Nascimento, who picked up his first finish in the organization when he submitted Carlos Hernandez.
Umar Nurmagomedov, the bantamweight cousin of lightweight legend Khabib, looked very un-Khabib-like when he scored a clean knockout of Brazil’s Raoni Barcelos for another of the bonuses. That duo opened up the UFC Vegas 67 main card.
Roman Kopylov, shortly after the Nurmagomedov fight, put away Punahele Soriano for his own Performance of the Night bonus. That win bodes well for the Russian, who fought out his contract at the event and has now won two straight.