The two title fight winners both received Performance of the Night bonuses for their incredible knockouts on Saturday at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla. Fight of the Night went to a pair of fighters making their UFC debuts, Jeffrey Molina and Aori Qileng. All four fighters will receive an extra $50,000 for their efforts.
Usman defended the UFC welterweight championship for a fourth consecutive time and improved to 14-0 inside the octagon with a KO of Jorge Masvidal in the main event. In a rematch from UFC 251 last July, Usman lived up to his guarantee that he would finish Masvidal this time when he landed a devastating right hand that put Masvidal down for the count in the second round.
The co-main event saw Namajunas become a two-time UFC strawweight titleholder as she needed less than 90 seconds to catch Zhang Weili with a head kick that rocked the champion. Namajunas followed up with strikes on the ground until the bout was waved off by referee Keith Peterson.
Molina, a Contender Series signee, and Qileng, a product of the UFC’s Performance Institute in Shanghai, dueled for three action-packed rounds in the second preliminary bout of the evening. As the bout progressed, Molina pulled ahead on the cards with his slick striking en route to a unanimous decision win.
UFC President Dana White said at the evening’s post-fight press conference that 15,269 were in attendance at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for the first UFC show in the U.S. to allow fans since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020. The gate was $3.3 million.