There were a couple clear winners when it came to the UFC Fight Night 128 post-fight bonuses on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., but the Fight of the Night honor went to a bout shrouded in controversy.
What a Wild Finish at UFC Atlantic City
Ricky Simon pulled off a stunning victory in a fight that most people thought he was losing going into the final round. In fact, two of the three judges in New Jersey would have awarded the bout to his opponent, Merab Dvalishvili, had officials used the scorecards.
Despite the fight making it to the final horn, the scorecards didn’t come into play. That sounds counterintuitive, and it certainly left many scratching their heads.
Dvalishvili landed some solid offense throughout the fight, but Simon hung tough and fought his way back into the thick of things, finally turning the tables in the waning moments of the fight. He locked on a guillotine choke later in the third round, but Dvalishvili kept fighting, giving the referee a thumbs up and constantly bicycling with his legs until the horn sounded.
When the clock ran out, Simon jumped to his feet, while Dvalishvili remained on the canvas. While most people thought that the scorecards were then being tallied, New Jersey Athletic Control Board officials determined that Dvalishvili had been out when time expired, so they declared Simon the winner via technical knockout.
It was a bazaar conclusion, but UFC officials deemed it the Fight of the Night, sending Simon and Dvalishvili home with an additional $50,000 each for their efforts.
David Branch and Siyar Bahadurzada Score Huge Knockouts!
It had been several years since David Branch had landed a knockout finish, but when he did so on Saturday night, it was in spectacular fashion.
Branch landed a clean overhand right that floored Thiago Santos and then followed him to the mat, where he unloaded with several hammerfists before the referee waved off the bout.
In the other Performance of the Night, Siyar Bahadurzada made his first start in seven months, but left a lasting impression, as he doubled over Luan Chagas and sent him crumbling to the canvas with a front kick to the body.
UFC Fight Night 128: Barboza vs. Lee Fighter Bonuses
- Fight of the Night: Ricky Simon vs. Merab Dvalishvili
- Performance of the Night: David Branch
- Performances of the Night: Siyar Bahadurzada