In a fight he nearly lost on the preliminary card of UFC on FUEL TV 7 on Saturday evening, Tom 'Kong' Watson managed to storm back from adversity and finish Stanislav Nedkov in the second round of their middleweight bout. For the gutsy performance from both fighters, they earned Fight of the Night honors, netting $50,000 each in the process. For his spectacular finish, Watson also picked up another $50,000 and took home the Knockout of the Night nod as well.
UFC President Dana White announced the winners during the post-fight press conference.
Watson, 30, opened the bout strong and in control. He used the Thai clinch and pushed Nedkov into the fence where he poured on the knees and elbow strikes for a majority of the round. Yet, Nedkov was able to land an uppercut and hook combination that backed up and ultimately dropped Watson to the mat. Nedkov pounced and unloaded with a series of hammerfists, elbows and punches to put the British middleweight away. Watson, however, managed to hang on and even encouraged the crowd to cheer louder during the break between the first and second rounds.
Nedkov, 31, looked to be in control during the second round as he used double leg scoops against the fence to keep Watson down or defend during the transition. After many defended attempts, Watson managed to turn Nedkov back into the fence and began to go back to work with knees and elbows. A few snuck through before many started to land and suddenly Nedkov was hanging on for dear life. Smelling blood, Watson landed a series of punches in succession followed by a knee, dropping the Bulgarian to the mat. A few perfunctory shots of follow-up on the ground prompted the referee stoppage, which came at 4:42 of the second frame.
Submission of the Night was awarded to UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao for his fourth-round submission victory over Michael McDonald. He, too, earned $50,000 for the main event victory.
Barao, 25, started somewhat conservatively and was even rocked in the first round by a blistering series of punches from McDonald. With each passing round, however, Barao began to take over by using unconventional kicks, exploiting the clear size differential and superior grappling. In the fight-ending sequence during the fourth round, Barao scored a trip takedown that not only pulled McDonald to the floor, but put the interim champion on the American's back. As McDonald turned to scramble back down, Barao expertly and almost immediately locked in a head and arm triangle submission. McDonald attempted to hang on, but eventually tapped after a few moments as the choke's squeeze forced the fight to the point of no return.
According to announced figures by White, UFC on FUEL 7 also earned $1.3 million in live gate receipts with 10,349 in attendance. The event took place at Wembley Arena in London, England.
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