UFC Vegas 31 had eight finishes in 10 fights – including seven straight to close the show. So there was plenty of competition for post-fight bonus awards.
So instead of giving a $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus and two “Performance of the Night” awards, the UFC upped the ante with four performance bonuses and “Fight of the Night” for six $50K winners total instead of just four.
‘Fight of the Night’: Billy Quarantillo def. Gabriel Benitez
Billy Quarantillo (16-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Gabriel Benitez (22-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) (TKO3) put on a banger of a fight to open the main card. By the time Quarantillo pounded Benitez out, Benitez was a fairly bloody mess. Quarantillo landed nearly three times as many strikes as Benitez – 179 total. But Benitez managed to stick around into the third and stayed a threat to make things interesting throughout.
‘Performance of the Night’: Rodrigo Nascimento
It was a tale of two fights for Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). In his card-opening heavyweight fight against Alan Baudot (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) (TKO2), Nascimento looked like he was in for a long night in the first round. But he rallied in the second, hurt Baudot on the feet, then pounded him out for a TKO comeback win.
‘Performance of the Night’: Mateusz Gamrot
Mateusz Gamrot (19-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) needed just 65 seconds to have Jeremy Stephens (28-19 MMA, 15-18 UFC) tapping to an expertly cinched kimura. The last time Stephens tapped out in a fight was at UFC Fight Night 17 in February 2009.
‘Performance of the Night’: Rodolfo Vieira
Rodolfo Vieira (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) picked up his third UFC win and third by submission when he jumped on Dustin Stoltzfus’ (13-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) back and locked in a rear-naked choke. With the choke on tight, Vieira threw caution to the wind and fell to the canvas, still draped around Stoltzfus’ back. The moment the pair hit the canvas, Stoltzfus was tapping.
‘Performance of the Night’: Miesha Tate
Miesha Tate (19-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) returned from a retirement of nearly five years and sent Marion Reneau (9-8-1 MMA, 5-7-1 UFC) into her own retirement on a down note. Tate pounded out Reneau in the third round for a big win in her comeback fight.