UFC 173

UFC 173: Recapping the Fight Night Bonuses

May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw celebrates his TKO win over opponent  Renan Barao (not pictured) following their UFC 173 bantamweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2014

UFC 173 was an exciting event. There were quality performances throughout the card, but only two would earn some extra money. And only one fight could earn the title of Fight of the Night.

UFC President Dana White and Co. had some tough decisions to make.

TJ Dillashaw became the new UFC bantamweight titleholder, Daniel Cormier dominated Dan Henderson and Robbie Lawler outclassed Jake Ellenberger. And those were only the premier bouts that everyone was anticipating on Saturday night in Las Vegas. 

The undercard also delivered. But who would come away with some extra checks?

Let's take a look at your performance bonus winners.


Performance of the Night: Mitch Clarke

May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Al Laquinta (red) struggles in a choke hold from his opponent Mitch Clarke (blue) during their UFC 173 lightweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Clarke won his bout by submission. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-U

Mitch Clarke had one of the more surprising performances at UFC 173.

Al Iaquinta was dominating the action. Clarke was not being outclassed, but Iaquinta was controlling the action. Clarke looked out of sorts.

Iaquinta gave the savvy Clarke a small window of opportunity, and in MMA that is all it takes.

Clarke laced up a brabo choke and put Iaquinta to sleep in a matter of seconds. Iaquinta went seemingly cross-eyed as Clarke squeezed the air out of him. It was a serene violence. The submission put Clarke on the map in the division, and it earned him a little extra pocket change.


Performance of the Night: TJ Dillashaw

May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  TJ Dillashaw (blue) celebrates after a successful third round against opponent Renan Barao (not pictured) during their UFC 173 bantamweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dillashaw won the bout by way of TK

There was no question that Dillashaw was going to earn a performance bonus on Saturday.

His championship-winning performance could be the performance of the year thus far in MMA. It was a complete domination of one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world. The speed, footwork and head movement confused Barao in each and every round.

Dillashaw looked simply phenomenal.

This was a special performance by Dillashaw, and one that fans should not take for granted. These performances are rarely seen.


Fight of the Night: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao

May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA;   TJ Dillashaw (blue) throws a punch at  Renan Barao (red) during their UFC 173 bantamweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dillashaw won the bout by way of TKO. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TOD

It is not often that we see a one-sided affair win Fight of the Night, but that is how special Dillashaw's performance was.

It ignited the crowd.

The stunning showing from the challenger, now champion, put fans on their feet. It was something unexpected. More importantly for this award, it was non-stop action. Dillashaw did not stop moving. He was in, out and around Barao for nearly 25 minutes of action.

Barao recovered from a near knockout in the first round, but he could never get into the fight. He connected a few times. Dillashaw was too good on Saturday. He looked the role of a pound-for-pound great. He took what Barao had. All of the momentum is now his.

Dillashaw never relented. He never took his foot off the gas pedal. He did not leave this fight in the hands of the judges. He went out and finished the champion in the fifth and final round. He did exactly what was needed to make himself a star in this sport.

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