UFC 294, taking place in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, was an early start for a UFC card thanks to the time difference — and turned out to be an uneven affair rife with controversy and fouls.
Victor Henry, who suffered a groin strike so severe he was later taken to hospital, was initially told by the cageside physician that nothing was wrong with him. Nathaniel Wood fought through fouls that went continually unpunished only to lose a decision, and Johnny Walker was ruled unable to continue after an illegal knee — paired with Henry, the second No Contest on the night.
On the bright side, the top two fights delivered, though only one earned any bonus bonus. That was the main event between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, with Dagestan’s Makhachev ending the fight inside of a round care of a head kick.
The KO finish earned the lightweight champ one of four $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses on the evening. The others went to Mohammad Mokaev, for submitting Tim Elliott in a dominant performance, Ikram Aliskerov, who lit up Warlley Alves, and Said Nurmagomedov, who choked out former ONE Championship talent Muin Gafurov.
No Fight of the Night was awarded at UFC 294, though the co-main event middleweight bout between Khamzat Chimaev and Kamaru Usman would have been a worthy option.