UFC Vegas 61 took place at the UFC Apex without fans or media, but the fighters put on a show anyway and the event was highlighted with a number of bonus-worthy performances.
The night ended up getting off to a scorching start with 4 straight finishes, and the winning fighter from each of those fights earned a Performance of the Night bonus with Fight of the Night going to the card preliminary.
Night performance bonus
Guido Cannetti entered his matchup with Randy Costa as an underdog, but the 42-year-old ended up taking the upset victory to kick off UFC Vegas 61.
“Ninja” got on Costa’s back and got a rear-end choke just a minute into their fight. Despite having no hooks, Cannetti quickly managed to force a blow excerpt from “The Zohan”.
The win was Cannetti’s second straight stoppage win, and the 42-year-old also picked up a Performance of the Night bonus.
Cannetti’s victory was immediately followed by another first-round finish from Chelsea Chandler, although this one took a few extra minutes.
Debutant Chandler was able to stifle Julija Stoliarenko’s attempts to put things down throughout the opening round before finding himself on the mount with about a minute to play. The 28 year old player make it rain strikesand the referee was forced to intervene when it was clear that Stoliarenko had no chance of escaping.
Along with celebrating a successful UFC debut, Chandler also pocketed an additional $50,000 for his win.
The third fight on the card continued the first-round finishing streak when Brendan Allen took on Krzysztof Jotko in a middleweight bout.
Jotko was able to get a quick takedown, it was Allen who found himself in a dominant position on the ground late in the first round. With time running out, “All In” caught a rear choke and rolled onto his back to knock out his Polish opponent.
The win was Allen’s third straight since losing to Chris Curtis in 2021, and the 26-year-old’s 11th career submission also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
Although it didn’t end in the first round, the lightweight contest between Joaquim Silva and Jesse Ronson managed to cap 4 straight finishes to open UFC Vegas 61.
After a first round where Silva clearly rocked Ronson on his feet, the Brazilian delivered a perfectly synchronized knee late in the second round which dropped “The Body Snatcher” before a few ground punches ended the fight.
“Netto BJJ” snapped a 2-fight skid with his finish from Ronson and also walked away with $50,000 for his impressive performance.
fight of the night
The featured preliminary at UFC Vegas 61 saw Daniel Santos and John Castañeda go head-to-head in a 140-pound catchweight bout, and it initially looked like things wouldn’t get out of the first round.
It didn’t take long for things to get out of hand, as the first back-and-forth between the two fighters was suddenly punctuated by a clean left kick from Castañeda. Santos spent the next few minutes narrowly escaping trouble only to be dropped again or buffeted by strikes from Castañeda, but the Brazilian managed to see the end of a brutal first round.
The second round was a stark contrast to the first, as Santos was clearly looking to gain control and avoid the same punches he took early on. ‘Willycat’ had particular success going to Castañeda’s body repeatedly using a variety of strikes, and the turn was clearly going Santos’ way as time went on.
A right hand from the Brazilian forced Castañeda to cover as Santos charged forward with punches, until a vicious knee cut the 30-year-old’s guard and ended things with just over 30 seconds left in the set.
Both men showed tremendous heart in the fight, and they deservedly earned bonuses for their participation in the night’s fight of the evening.
What do you think of the UFC Vegas 61 bonus winners?