Junior dos Santos may not have a belt around his waist, but the former UFC heavyweight champion is well on his way to another shot at regaining the title.
He and Derrick Lewis put on a Fight of the Night performance in the UFC on ESPN+ 4 main event in the promotion’s debut in Wichita, Kansas on Saturday night, but it was dos Santos who walked away with the win.
Dos Santos has twice failed to regain the gold he lost to Cain Velasquez in December 2012, but he’s never looked as sharp as his recent three-fight winning streak. Coming off of back-to-back victories over Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa, dos Santos notched his biggest win in years by taking out Lewis.
He had to withstand some brutal punches from “The Black Beast” to do it, but dos Santos weathered Lewis’ power shots to eventually break through and finish with a flurry of punches that Lewis couldn’t answer.
Their exciting performance earned each of them an additional $50,000 for the Fight of the Night honors.
The Performance of the Night awards also went to main card fighters with fantastic finishes.
Nike Price withstood an aggressive attack by Tim Means before closing with a knockout with seconds left in the opening round. Beneil Dariush finished with a highly technical set-up that transitioned into a fight-finishing armbar for which Drew Dober had no escape.
Price and Dariush were each awarded a $50,000 bonus for their efforts.
UFC Wichita Fighter Bonuses
- Performance of the Night: Niko Price
- Performance of the Night: Beneil Dariush
- Fight of the Night: Derrick Lewis vs. Junior dos Santos