Four dramatic finishes, four big bonus winners.
There was no Fight of the Night award handed out Friday, but Marlon Moraes, Gregor Gillespie, Ben Saunders, and Nathaniel Wood all won $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses for putting away their opponents at UFC Utica.
Moraes capped off the night in dramatic fashion with a lightning fast head kick finish of Jimmie Rivera. It took the former World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion all of 33 seconds to defeat Rivera and vault himself to the front of the UFC contenders’ line at 135 pounds.
In the co-main event, Gillespie continued to mow through the lightweight division, improving to 5-0 in the UFC with a second-round submission win over Vinc Pichel.
Also collecting bonuses were welterweight veteran Saunders, who KO’d fellow MMA lifer Jake Ellenberger inside of a round with a knee to the body, and debuting bantamweight Wood, who shook off a poor start to score a second-round submission of Johnny Eduardo.
This was the second straight head kick finish for Moraes and also his second straight outing in which he received a performance reward. Gillespie and Saunders both collected their third post-fight bonuses, with each man having previously won a Performance of the Night bonus and a Fight of the Night bonus.