UFC Vegas 93: Taira Earns Performance Bonus After Main Event Ends in Injury

Tatsuro Taira, UFC
Tatsuro Taira, UFC 290 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Tatsuro Taira came away from UFC Vegas 93, where he competed in his first five-round main event with the promotion, with a win- and a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.

That latter fact might come as a surprise to some, given the nature of the finish against Alex Perez.

In the second round, Taira scaled the back of Perez, climbing him like King Kong on the Empire State Building. Then, with a body triangle in place, Taira leaned back, toppling the former title challenger (and himself) onto the canvas.

Almost immediately, Perez clutched his knee in pain. While the rarely seen body triangle takedown was both intentional and impressive, the finish came down to a bit of bad luck on the part of Perez. And to that point, Perez had actually been winning the fight, with all three judges scoring the first round 10-9 for the former title challenger.

Despite that, UFC commentator Michael Bisping heaped hyperbolic praise on the Japanese star post-fight. “That was one of the best and cleanest performances I’ve ever seen,” Bisping exclaimed in the night’s final post-fight interview.

Regardless of how it went down, Taira comes away from his first main event with a TKO win, and the asterisk beside it, “injury,” will eventually be long forgotten. Especially given that the slick takedown resulted in said injury. Still, on a night low on finishes, perhaps the UFC simply wanted to further the push of their biggest Japanese star, who improved to 16-0 with the win, and called for a title shot against Alexandre Pantoja.

The other Performance of the Night bonus at UFC Vegas 93 went to Brady Hiestand, who submitted Garrett Armfield in the third round of a back-and-forth battle. Hiestand was rocked and nearly stopped earlier in the bout, making the finish that much more impressive.

Fight of the Night on Saturday went to Gabriella Fernandes and the debuting Carli Judice, with Fernandes coming away with a split decision win. All four bonus-winners pocket an additional $50,000 on top of their purse, outfitting pay, etc.