UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill Bonus Awards

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill Bonus Awards

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UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs Hill Bonus Awards

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Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Saturday, August 6th brought mixed martial arts the second card in modern UFC history to have a 100% finish rate, with all 10 fights at UFC Vegas 59 ending in either a knockout or submission. All 10 winners were in play for an extra $50,000 to go along with their impressive win, but sadly there wasn’t enough to go around. Here are the most deserving candidates of this week’s FOTN and POTN honors (ranked).

Fight of the night: Santos vs Hill

Jamahal Hill and Thiago Santos electrified the Apex with one of the better fight night main events of 2022, as they took home fight of the night honors and an extra 50K on their paychecks. Thiago Santos, the formerly 6th ranked light heavyweight has been a part of lackluster bouts in the last couple of years, including forgettable matchups with Aleksandar Rakic and Johnny Walker. To the surprise of many fans, “Marreta” was active and even took a couple rounds from Hill before ultimately getting knocked out. His opponent Jamahal Hill, fighting out of the blue corner as the 10th ranked 205er in the UFC entering the fight, had every rising star’s “deep water” test. “Sweet Dreams” certainly didn’t dominate Santos, but persevered through adversity and prevailed, earning himself a spot in the elites of the division. Both guys were ready to “swang and bang,” continuing the trend of an entertaining card and delivering on all facets. In a card full of highlights, this fight stood out on top.

Best performance of the night: Geoff Neal

Geoff “Handz Of Steel” Neal had the best performance of his career by far, dominating Vicente Luque on his way to cracking the “Silent Assassin’s” granite chin. Neal himself said that he took time to find his love of the sport once again, and made a statement, finishing one of the best strikers the welterweight division has to offer. It’s more than obvious that Neal is ready to matchup against the best 170 pounders in the promotion. In his post fight interview, Neal called out Gilbert Burns, top ranked star that took phenom Khamzat Chimaev three grueling rounds and showed the world how truly amazing he is. The Fortis MMA products’ future is as bright as ever, and he was more than deserving of a hefty bonus.

Number two performance of the night: Bryan Battle

TUF 29 Winner Bryan Battle made a show stopping debut at welterweight, knocking out veteran Takashi Sato in 44 seconds with a beautifully timed head kick that had everyone out of their seats. With his win this past weekend, Battle advanced to 3-0 in the UFC and earned his first official performance bonus. A first round knockout is as impressive as it gets, as the Team Volkanovski product only had to throw a total of 10 strikes, before putting his opponent out cold. While speaking to Michael Bisping, Battle managed to call out Ian Garry and Bryan Barberena. Both fighters would be huge leaps in competition, but certainly interesting matchups for the up and coming prospect. Expect to see “Pooh Bear” on the highlight reel for the coming years.

Number three performance of the night: Terrence McKinney

Although “T Wrecks” is coming in at third on the POTN ladder, his victory was as flawless and impressive as the rest. He submitted his opponent Erick Gonzalez in two minutes and 17 seconds after winning every exchange on the feet, and ultimately taking Gonzalez’s back. Knowing the skill that McKinney possesses, we were expecting a performance of such magnitude from the 27-year-old prospect, so it was really no surprise. In real life, McKinney ended up missing out on the 50,000 dollar bonus, but he had every right to be included on the list. “T Wrecks” wants a fight with Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett and I don’t think any UFC fan in the world would say no.

Stay tuned for next week where I hand out bonus awards for “UFC San Diego: Vera Vs Cruz!”

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