Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas authored back-to-back candidates for “Knockout of the Year” at UFC 261, and both received some extra financial compensation for their efforts.
Usman retained his welterweight crown with a knockout of Jorge Masvidal Saturday’s headliner at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, earning a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award in the process. A right hand from Usman dropped Masvidal, and several follow-up hammer fists sealed the deal 62 seconds into Round 2, giving “The Nigerian Nightmare” his 14th straight UFC triumph.
In the co-main event, Namajuas garnered the evening’s other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” check thanks to a title-winning finish of Zhang. “Thug” Rose faked a low kick, then went upstairs with her lead leg, landing a perfectly-placed head kick on her opponent’s chin. Namajunas followed Zhang to the mat and finished the victory with strikes at the 1:18 mark of the opening stanza to reclaim the strawweight belt.
Molina and Aori shared “Fight of the Night” honours and earned $50,000 apiece for their flyweight scrap on the preliminary bill. Ultimately, it was Molina who received a unanimous nod on the strength of a pair of knockdowns and a division record 189 significant strikes landed.