UFC 261 bonuses: Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas rewarded for championship knockouts
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.