The UFC had an early start on Saturday, with the preliminary card at UFC Charlotte kicking off at noon eastern.
That’s no doubt thanks to the event’s placement on ABC, which brought with it the potential of more eyeballs — assuming viewers were willing to tune in.
If they tuned in early, they were treated to a couple of gems, including a thrilling knockout by Bryan Battle, who dropped opponent Gabe Green in all of 14 seconds. Unfortunately for Battle, however, he had missed weight for the welterweight bout by two pounds. Meaning he was ineligible for a bonus. Or so it seemed.
Four other fighters were initially awarded Performance of the Night bonuses at UFC Chatlotte, per UFC President Dana White. No Fight of the Night was handed out.
The winners include main event heavyweight Jailton Almeida, who stormed through Jairzinho Rozenstruik, using superior grappling to overwhelm “Bigi Boy.” When Rozenstruik gave up his back trying to regain his feet, the Brazilian was all over it, locking up the rear-naked choke.
Also picking up a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus was Ian Garry, who landed a head kick on Daniel Rodriguez to pick up the TKO finish. That win is likely to land the Irish star in the welterweight rankings; he also became the first to knock out Rodriguez, who had never before lost by KO or TKO.
Carlos Ulberg, who stopped Ihor Potieira in a light heavyweight bout, and Matt Brown, rounded out the bonus winners. Brown, in particular, had the crowd on their feet thanks to a huge right hand that dropped Court McGee for a walk-off KO.
Midway through Saturday’s post-fight press conference, however, a question about the crowd reaction to Battle — the only fighter repping North Carolina at the event — convinced White to announce a fifth bonus. Previously, he had suggested the promotion would “take care” of Battle and Alex Morono, who submitted Tim Means to open the UFC Charlotte main card.
However, instead, Battle will get a full $50,000 despite missing weight.
Attendance at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina was 18,712, making Saturday’s card the highest attended fight night in domestic history, per White. The gate totaled $2.09 million USD.