Dan Hardy couldn't have asked for a better night.
On a card packed with heavyweight fireworks, the diminutive Englishman managed to pocket an extra $70,000 for ‘Knockout of the Night' and, more importantly, save his job after dropping Duane Ludwig with a left hook late in the opening frame at UFC 146. The victory was Hardy's first since 2009, and it showed.
"It's good to be back," an emotional Hardy said afterward. "It's really good to be back."
Though Hardy wasn't the only one leaving the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a fatter wallet. After a night featuring nine finishes, UFC President Dana White announced the promotion would hand out two ‘Knockout of the Night' and two ‘Submission of the Night' bonuses, with Roy Nelson being the recipient of the second knockout bonus.
Nelson needed just 51 seconds to flatten Dave Herman with a heavy overhand right, locking in the fastest finish on the card.
"Clearly my hands have dynamite in them or a small rock or whatever," Nelson quipped.
Meanwhile, English lightweight Paul Sass and Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve earned ‘Submission of Night' honors for their efforts. Sass maintained his undefeated record by submitting Jacob Volkmann early in the first round, while Struve made quick work of Lavar Johnson, tapping the American via a textbook armbar in 65 seconds.
‘Fight of the Night' was not awarded to any of the card's participants.