Vinicius Oliveira Doubles Up on Bonuses at UFC Vegas 87

Vinicius Oliveira and Benardo Sopaj, UFC Vegas 87
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 01: (L-R) Opponents Vinicius Oliveira of Brazil and Benardo Sopaj of Albania face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on March 01, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

One of the most electrifying double-debuts in recent memory took place at UFC Vegas 87 on Saturday, where promotional newcomers Vinicius Oliveira and Benardo Sopaj faced off.

The bantamweight pairing was thrown together on short notice, with Sopaj, just 23, stepping up to replace Yanis Ghemmouri against Brazil’s Oliveira. Which had a lot of fans interest piqued, given Oliveira’s success on the Contender Series, and Sopaj’s own top flight prospect status.

In the first half of the preliminary card battle, it felt as if Sopaj might put Oliveira away. He certainly had the Brazilian hurt, and was flowing on the ground, moving position to position and scoring a large amount of ground n’ pound. But midway through the second, Oliveira turned the tables, and the hunter became the hunted.

That was especially true in the third, where a dazed Sopaj stumbled about the octagon, more often than not retreating. Towards the end of the fight, Vinicius Oliveira took advantage of just that, closing the distance, launching a flying knee, and connecting clean to the side of the head, ending Sopaj’s night.

A brutal and awe-inspiring scene all at once and one that saw Oliveira double up on the post-fight bonus money. He and Sopaj share Fight of the Night, while Vinicius also earns on of two Performance of the Night bonuses awarded at UFC Vegas 87.

The other Performance bonus at UFC Vegas 87 went to flyweight Steven Erceg, who scored a one-punch knockout of Matt Schnell. As always, all bonus-winning fighters pocket $50,000 U.S. for their efforts, or in the case of Vinicius Oliveira, $100,000.