UFC Fight Bonuses for the Month of March
Sometimes a man has to stand up against the tide. Today, that standing man is me.
In February, the UFC community was shaken to its core when the promotion changed its post-fight bonus structure. Only Fight of the Night would remain the same. Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night? They were gone. Vapor on the wind, man.
In their place? Something called Performance of the Night.
These were dark times for the community. Or maybe no one cared. Or maybe people liked the change. But I'm trying to build a narrative here, so yes, dark times.
But we're going to find the light again, aren't we? We're going to find it right now, with this Bleacher Report slideshow. Contained in these pages are the OGs of the bonus structure: knockout, submission and fight. Just as it has always been. Just as nature intended.
As you may recall, in this space, these bonuses are awarded for the entire month. And there's no money per se. The bonus is the slide where your name is mentioned. So it's more of a social currency than a financial one. There might also be some other bonus categories as well, which I simply made up on my own. Please enjoy.
Knockout of the Month: Dong Hyun Kim
It might not have been what you call a thing of beauty. It might have been downright Tin Man clunky. But Dong Hyun Kim made sure the rubber hit the road when it mattered most, delivering a shock wave of a spinning elbow that shut down John Hathaway and made all the headlines following the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: China in Macau.
In a refreshing change of pace, Kim openly acknowledged after the fight that he consciously changed from a control grappling style to a more exciting, knockout-centric approach. Because when it comes to the people, you give them what they want. Now perfect in his last four contests (with knockouts in his last two), the Korean "Stun Gun" is trending upward.
Knockout of the Month 2: Godofredo Castro
One good turn deserves another. And who could forget Godofredo Castro's sudden, electric knee-smashing of Noad Lahat to kick off UFC Fight Night 38?
A submission artist by trade, Castro (aka Godofredo Pepey) wasn't supposed to be able to hang with the American Kickboxing Academy's Lahat on the feet.
But the suppositions were inaccurate; starting from a point almost outside of all striking range, Castro launched himself at Lahat, switched knees in the air and crushed his opponent for the instant knockout.
Pound for pound, this was the single most spectacular blow landed in the UFC in March.
Submission of the Month: Ovince St-Preux
Forget about Ovince St-Preux for a second. Imagine how many free dinners this earned Jason Von Flue.
You might remember Von Flue from such television programs as TUF Season 2 and, eh, that's it. But before he exited stage left, he imprinted his name on this unusual submission hold, which involves using your upper arm and shoulder to apply pressure to your opponent's throat while in side control. It's a power move, you might say.
And St-Preux executed Von Flue choke to a tee at UFC 171, putting Nikita Krylov to sleep before spectators, broadcasters and even the ref realized what had happened. It was a sneaky maneuver for a sneaky good light heavyweight in St-Preux.
Fight of the Month: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
Not a lot of uncertainty here.
At UFC 171 in Dallas, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler waged war in a broom closet for 25 minutes with the vacant welterweight title on the line.
Both men were bloody and more than game, and the contest appeared even heading into the final frame. Finally, one man blinked, though it was through no deliberate fault of his own; Lawler gassed in the final minutes, allowing Hendricks to inch ahead of him on the scorecards and take a close but clear decision at the tape.
It's still early, but any serious Fight of the Year candidate will have to go through Hendricks vs. Lawler.
Bubba McDaniel of the Month: Bubba McDaniel
Welcome to the bonus bonus round, which we will begin by honoring one Robert "Bubba" McDaniel. He's a man. He's a myth. He is Bubba.
(Although not a true Bubba, I suppose. I grew up with more than one guy who had "Bubba" on his birth certificate. So top that.)
In any event, McDaniel just isn't very good. When Tor Troeng pulled out of their UFC 171 prelim fight, it looked as if McDaniel might receive a reprieve.
Nothing doing. Enter Sean Strickland, a young middleweight bruiser who had been tearing up the regional circuits for quite a while. And he tore up McDaniel, too, running through Bubba's submission game as if it wasn't even there.
McDaniel has now dropped two in a row, and that's not counting the two he lost on The Ultimate Fighter, where he distinguished himself far more with his gabbing, if you will, than with his jabbing.
To date, the only UFC fight he won was the one against Gilbert Smith. Not so good. Come on, Bubba. Get a win next time. Stave off the executioner's ax. Do it for the Bubbas.
Reminder of Inexorable March of Time of the Month: Hendo vs. Shogun 2
Dan Henderson had a strategy in his rematch with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. It appeared to be plodding around the cage and swinging his right hand. Eventually, it worked, but only because it doesn't appear Rua can swing his legs very effectively anymore. I'm no Todd Harris, but leg swinging is, methinks, a key weapon in the arsenal of the successful MMA gentleman.
In short, these two lions of the sport are starting to get a little gray in the mane. More than a little. But their names still have value, and their muscles still have memory. So these two, with their combined age of 75 (Hendo is 43, while Rua is 32, though he's much older in fighter years), will probably continue to march on, no matter how strong of a walking reminder of my own mortality they might be.
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. For more serious ruminations like this one on the location of the sport within the American cultural landscape and what not, follow Scott on Twitter.