The UFC’s first Las Vegas event of 2021 is in the books, and as is the case no matter where in the world the promotion may be, four fighters walked away with an extra $50,000 after putting in impressive work.
The UFC went with a “Fight of the Night” award and two “Performance of the Night” awards after UFC Fight Night 184. Earning $50,000 apiece for their efforts were Beneil Dariush and Diego Ferreira, who took “Fight of the Night,” as well as Alexander Volkov and Cory Sandhagen, who each won “Performance of the Night” awards.
UFC Fight Night 184 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event streamed on ESPN+.
‘Performance of the Night’: Alexander Volkov
Alexander Volkov has been on the cusp of ascending into the heavyweight elite for several years. He has been missing only that one big, signature finish.
He got it Saturday night.
Volkov took out legend Alistair Overeem via TKO at 2 minutes, 6 seconds of the second round in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. After bloodying Overeem with hard combinations, Volkov landed a walk-off left hook that floored Overeem for good. Referee Jason Herzog jumped in and called off the bout.
The victory was one-sided and perhaps Volkov’s best performance in the UFC and should elevate him into the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. ESPN had Overeem ranked No. 6 in the world at heavyweight and Volkov right below him at No. 7.
In case there was any doubt, now there can be no denying: Volkov (33-8 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is on the short list of top contenders for the UFC heavyweight title.
“It’s my time,” Volkov, a 6-foot-7 Russian nicknamed “Drago,” said in his postfight interview.
Overeem had success in the first with several hard overhand lefts. But waiting to counter Volkov was a miscue. Volkov came forward landing hard, straight punching combinations with Overeem shelling up along the cage. Though Overeem was blocking, Volkov’s shots were hard and getting through. Overeem was cut late in the first round.
In the second round, Volkov pressured Overeem against the cage again and landed hard jab-cross combinations. The technique was simple but very effective. Volkov’s heavy hands bloodied Overeem even more.
When the two separated, Overeem’s face was almost entirely red. Volkov then landed a perfectly placed left hook to send Overeem to the canvas.
“I felt like I can finish him in the second or third round,” Volkov said. “I saw his face. He had a lot of cuts and blood on his face. I was waiting for a good punch. I did it.”
The bout was held in front of no fans with COVID-19 protocols in place at the UFC Apex, a venue across the street from the UFC’s corporate campus. It was the first UFC event of the year in the United States after the first three took place in Abu Dhabi.
‘Performance of the Night’: Cory Sandhagen
Cory Sandhagen lands a flying knee to knock out Frankie Edgar in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For the second time in as many fights, Sandhagen (14-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) finished a major name as he continues climbing the bantamweight ranks. Last time, it was Marlon Moraes. This time, he needed just 28 seconds to knock former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar cold with a vicious flying knee. That’s certainly good for “Performance of the Night.” Like Volkov, this marked the third post-fight bonus of Sandhagen’s UFC career.
‘Fight of the Night’: Beneil Dariush vs. Diego Ferreira
Beneil Dariush of Iran kicks Diego Ferreira of Brazil in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The lightweight main-card rematch between Dariush and Ferreira was one circled by those in the know as a fight which could steal the show. And that the two competitor did. In just a superlative display of all-around MMA, the duo shined both in the standup and on the mat. After 15 minutes of excellent action, Dariush had just a little more to offer, and he sealed his second win over Ferreira, this time via split decision. Both take home well-earned $50K bonuses. Dariush earned his fifth career post-fight bonus, while Ferreira took home his fourth.