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UFC 187 bonuses: Daniel Cormier, Chris Weidman pocket $50,000 each

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The two UFC champions competing at UFC 187 also claimed Performance of the Night bonuses with their victories Saturday night. They also each earned $50,000 for their efforts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the main event, Daniel Cormier claimed the vacant UFC light heavyweight title by submitting Anthony Johnson in the third round via rear naked choke. Cormier, though, had a shaky start as he was dropped with a thunderous overhand right from Johnson. The former Olympic wrestler was able to scramble to his feet and claim the occasional front head lock or even a cradle, but it was Johnson who did all the significant damage.

By the second round, things began to change. Johnson's striking was still potent, but Cormier was able to get Johnson against the fence and from there, pick him off the ground and slam him to the mat. He spent the rest of the round on top in Johnson's half guard, battering 'Rumble'  with elbows and short punches as well as a kimura attempt. When the round expired, Johnson was helped to his feet by his corner and seemed noticeably winded.

Both fighters were tired by the third round, but it was Cormier who used Johnson's forward aggression to wrestle him back to the mat. Cormier forced Johnson to turtle position where he leaned on him, landed strikes and the eventual fight-ending submission. The time came at 2:39 of the third round.

In the co-main event of the evening, Chris Weidman defending his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort by stopping 'The Phenom' with strikes from mount. Things weren't so smooth early as Weidman ate a barrage of strikes from the Brazilian that were set up when Weidman over committed on a takedown attempt. Still, the American weathered the storm and eventually pulled Belfort to the mat with a double-leg takedown. From there he quickly passed to mount and unleashed a punishing array of punches and elbows. Belfort briefly gave his back before turning back into Weidman, but that only made things worse. Referee Herb Dean stopped the contest at 2:53 of the first round.

And winning Fight of the Night is a heavyweight contest between former training partners and current friends Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne. Arlovski got to work right away, uncorking a right that Browne leaned into, rocking 'Hapa' badly. Still, Browne survived that and another devastating punch minutes later. A third flurry, though, put Browne's back against the cage and while he nearly seemed finished, he landed a right hand that dropped Arlovski. Browne tried to finish him in a scramble, but was too dazed to do much of anything effectively. Arlovski managed to stand back up and drive two hard, uncontested rights down the middle, prompting a referee stoppage at 4:41 of the first round.

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