There likely won't be many days this good in the professional life of new UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. In addition to dominating Anthony Pettis to win the belt at UFC 185 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, dos Anjos claimed $50,000 through a Performance of the Night bonus.
From beginning to end over the course of five rounds, dos Anjos did essentially everything he wanted to the now former champion in Pettis. Dos Anjos routinely backed Pettis against the cage where he unloaded with overhand rights, body kicks or a mix of both as he worked in what would eventually be 9 successful takedowns.
Pettis had his moments in the bout as well, scoring with his own uppercuts, middle kicks and the occasional scramble to his feet. But it wasn't even close to enough as he sustained more damage on his feet and back, couldn't threaten from his back and was almost entirely unable to respond to the Brazilian's wrestling.
In the end, dos Anjos took the title via unanimous decision 50-45, 50-45 and 50-45. Dos Anjos's record improves to 24-7 while Pettis falls to 18-3.
Another champion and $50,000-winning Performance of the Night bonus winner was crowned on Saturday as Joanna Jedrzejcyzk defeated Carla Esparza to become the new women's strawweight champion. The bout was entirely one-sided as the Polish striker surrended only one takedown, stuffing everything else from 'Cookie Monster'. Along the way, she scored elbows in tight and eventually walked Esparza down where she unloaded a barrage that forced the referee to jump in and halt the action. The stoppage came officially at 4:17 of the second frame.
Jedrzejcyzk improves to 9-0 while Esparza moves to 10-3.
Two fighters from the preliminary card also earned $50,000 through Performance of the Night honors. Ross Pearson stopped Sam Stout at 1:33 of the second frame to be the first of the two to do so. Pearson and Stout had a relatively even first round and were on their way to do so in the second round until, in the pocket, the two traded left hooks. Pearson's, however, landed first, flattening Stout in the process. A few more shots forced the referee to intervene at 1:33 of the second round.
Pearson climbs to 17-8 with 1 no-contest while Stout falls to 20-11-1.
Last, but certainly not least, Beneil Dariush controlled and eventually submitted Daron Cruickshank to earn extra money and the bonus award. Dariush used a wide array of skills, including body kicks at distance, effective scrambling and good positional control to not only hurt Cruickshank on the feet, but move to his back and sink the rear naked choke on an overwhelmed 'Detroit Superstar at 2:48 of the second frame.
Dariush moves to 10-1 while Cruickshank slides to 16-6 with 1 no-contest.