UFC middleweight contender Luke Rockhold not only notched the most important win of his career by stopping Lyoto Machida in the second round on Saturday night at UFC on FOX 15, but pocketed an additional $50,000 with a Performance of the Night bonus. The awards were announced at the post-fight press conference.
Rockhold dominated the contest almost from the beginning. While the first few exchanges on the feet saw the AKA product eating a few punches, the fight was completely dominated on the floor by the American. Either from a slip or punch, Machida found himself on the ground and could do little to slow down Rockhold. The Brazilian attempted to recapture full guard or get to turtle, but it was Rockhold who found his way to his back where he launched brutal ground and pound as well as submission attempts.
By the second round, Machida's right eye was swollen and he was visibly tired. Another slip sent him to the canvas again where Rockhold went right to work. Rockhold found himself on Machida's back again and this time, there was nothing Machida could do as Rockhold expertly slipped on the rear naked choke and forced the tap. The end came officially at 2:31 of round 2.
Also earning $50,000 and a Performance of the Night bonus was featherweight Max Holloway who submitted Cub Swanson in the third round of their bout. Holloway was dominant from the very beginning and never took his foot off the gas. Using expert angles, distance, striking combinations and timing, he had Swanson hesitant, at the end of his punches and unable to launch any meaningful offense. A series of body strikes in the third round badly hurt Swanson and Holloway used that to close the show when he locked up a standing guillotine. Swanson tried to go back down to stop it, but only ended up being finished by guillotine from the mount. The end came at 3:58 of the third frame.
Last, but certainly not least, UFC light heavyweights Gian Villante and Corey Anderson each earned $50,000 and Fight of the Night honors for their back-and-forth contest on the preliminary card. Villante looked strong from the beginning, landing uncontested leg kick after uncontested leg kick. By round two, however, Villante began to slow where Anderson's boxing on the inside began to pay off. The two were trading everything they had by round three where an overhand right to the temple by Villante drilled Anderson into a state of semi-consciousness. A quick flurry of additional rights forced a referee stoppage at 4:18 of of the third and final frame.
UFC on FOX 15 took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.