Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas Earn Performance of the Night Bonuses at UFC 261

Usman And Namajunas UFC Win

  • Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas shared Performance of the Night honors at UFC 261 last Saturday.
  • Usman knocked out Jorge Masvidal with a vicious right hand in the second round of the main event of UFC 261.
  • Namajunas reclaimed the UFC straw weight title by knocking out Zhang Weili inside round one.

UFC 261 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida featured three title fights. All three ended in a stoppage, with two earning Performance of the Night honors and an extra $50K bonus for the winners.

Arguably, Valentina Shevchenko’s dominant win over Jessica Andrade was also Performance of the Night worthy. Known as one of the best strikers in the history of female MMA, Shevchenko dominated Andrade on the ground, with a violent wrestling game no one had seen before from her.

But if that performance was impressive, the final two bouts of the evening produced explosive knockouts that earned the winners an additional $50K in post-fight bonuses.

Street Jesus Got Baptized

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman entered the main event as a heavy betting favorite at the best MMA betting sites to repeat over Jorge Masvidal. The Nigerian Nightmare had beaten Masvidal in a one-sided decision last year at UFC 251 in Fight Island. But Masvidal earned a rematch while boasting he could beat Usman on a full camp after taking the first fight on six-days notice. He scammed everyone.

Looking every bit the journeyman he is, Masvidal was playing around with Usman on the feet prior to the knockout. He smirked after Usman landed punches on him. And then all of a sudden, the Nigerian Nightmare landed a right hand that resembled a Francis Ngannou punch. Boom. Street Jesus got baptized and was put to sleep for the first time in his MMA career.

Usman has now successfully defended the welterweight belt four times, three via knockout. He is undefeated in the UFC with 14 wins and has not lost since dropping his second professional MMA bout in 2013. Saturday night was the third post fight bonus in Usman’s last four bouts. Impressive indeed.

Thug Rose Shocks the World, Again

Thug Rose shocked the world in 2017 when she knocked out the then-unbeatable Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 to win the UFC strawweight title. On Saturday night, Rose Namajunas did it again and shocked the world when she knocked out Zhang Weili with one of the cleanest head kicks you’ll ever see in the history of the UFC. Zhang was out on her feet when Namajunas finished her off with ground shots that were moot and academic.

Namajunas entered the fight as a +175 betting underdog with Zhang a -200 odds on favorite to retain here belt. But just as she did against Joana four years ago, Namajunas beat the odds, dethroned a champion that was thought to be unbeatable, and become world champion again.

By recapturing the UFC women’s strawweight title, Namajunas is the first female fighter in the UFC to win the same title twice. Namajunas has won back to back fights since losing to Jessica Andrade via body slam knockout. Given the circumstances of her victory, Namajunas was equally deserving of Performance of the Night honors.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.