Tai Tuivasa banks a bonus for face-planting Derrick Lewis
UFC officials announced the recipients of the performance-based fighter bonuses following UFC 271 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday.
Fight of the Night: Douglas Silva de Andrade vs Sergey Morozov
“This is a great fight,” exclaimed announcer Daniel Cormier midway through the second round of the bout between Douglas Silva De Andrade vs Sergey Morozov, and truer words have never been spoken. Houston fans not in their seats, and the home audience not yet in front of their televisions missed a wild back-and-forth brawl that might have ended ten or more times before it did when de Andrade sunk in the rear naked choke and Morozov— who wouldn’t tap — went unconscious with his eyes open.
The Brazilian de Andrade was mostly on the receiving end of the melee in the first frame, not only losing the round on all three judge’s scorecards, but even receiving an 8 from one judge.
“It’s only over when it’s over, and it wasn’t over,” he said.
Fired up and reborn in the second round, he repaid the favor to a game Morozov in a performance that made the Toyota Center sound like it was at capacity in only the third fight of the evening.
“I love you Houston,” he exclaimed upon winning, before beseeching Dana White for the bonus he had to know was coming his way.
Performance of the Night: Tai Tuivasa
As dangerous as Tai Tuivasa is, it felt almost unthinkable that he would KO Derrick Lewis in front of his raucous hometown Houston crowd, particularly after eating some of Lewis’ trademark strikes for a round and a half, and yet that’s exactly what the Australian did.
Jumping from No. 12 to No. 3 in the process, Tuivasa now has the second longest active UFC win streak in the heavyweight division with his 5th consecutive win (the champ, Francis Ngannou, has 6), and became only the 24th fighter in UFC history with a streak of five or more consecutive finishes.
Despite being Lewis’ house, Tuivasa has endeared himself to fans worldwide, even those in Houston, who were more than happy to share his trademark shoeys along their way back to the locker room and beyond to celebrate his new status in the heavyweight elite.
Performance of the Night: Jared Cannonier
There was a moment in the final seconds of the first round when Jared Cannonier every so lightly started to make the gesture to tap out from Derek Brunson’s tight choke. Perhaps realizing he only needed to hang on for a few more seconds, he resisted. It was the right choice.
Armed with the knowledge he came within a whisper of losing a potential title shot, Cannonier exploded in the second round, hurting Brunson (who had looked fantastic) and putting him on the retreat before finishing the veteran in a flurry of elbows and strikes that simultaneously prompted the referee to step in and Brunson’s corner to throw in the towel. In the post-fight presser, UFC president Dana White agreed that Cannonier’s efforts warranted the next shot at champion Israel Adesanya.