The Ultimate Fighting Championship released the performance-based fighter bonuses following UFC 178: Johnson vs. Cariaso at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. Conor McGregor, Dominick Cruz, Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero banked $50,000 for their efforts.
Fight of the Night honors went to Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero for their middleweight match-up. Kennedy seemed to be well on his way to a win. He had Romero out on his feet at the end of the opening round.
Between rounds, controversy arose. Romero’s corner took their time and the cut man applied excessive amounts of Vaseline. The stool was left in the cage. It’s an old trick to allow a hurt fighter as much time as possible to recover. Romero gained an extra 28 seconds of rest before coming out for the second round. He ended up catching Kennedy with a punch and followed up with strikes on the ground, earning a TKO win.
Fast rising featherweight star Conor McGregor earned a Performance of the Night award for his first-round finish of Dustin Poirier. He clipped Poirier with a left hook behind the ear that sent Poirier falling to the canvas. McGregor finished with a series of punches on the ground. Following taking out the no. 5-ranked featherweight, McGregor called for a title shot.
Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz returned to action after nearly three years away from competition due to a reoccurring knee injury. He made a statement in his comeback fight by dominating Takeya Mizugaki. The fight lasted just 61 seconds. The questions about whether he’d return to top form were answered.