Tuesday, February 7, 2012

UFC 143: Fabricio Werdum, Roy Nelson, Dustin Poirier, Stephen Thompson earn $65,000 bonuses

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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The UFC handed out $65,000 bonuses on Saturday night to four fighters for their respective efforts on the UFC 143 card in Las Vegas.

UFC newcomer Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson locked up the "Knockout of the Night" with a beautifully delivered head kick to Dan Stittgen. The highly successful former kickboxer and kenpo karate black belt feigned a kick low, but then brought it up to Stittgen's jaw in a strike that Stittgen never saw coming, putting him out cold.

Dustin Poirier earned the "Submission of the Night" for an excellent effort against the overmatched Max Holloway. The 20-year-old UFC newcomer was the third scheduled opponent for Poirier after injuries took out Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas, but Poirier did what good fighters are supposed to do in this situation.

After scoring a takedown on Holloway, Poirier almost immediately got to mount. Holloway tried to fight him off, but left himself susceptible to an armbar attempt. When he defended that hold, he was caught in a triangle choke. Poirier then rolled that into a mounted triangle, and as he extended Holloway's arm for the triangle/armbar combination, the 20-year-old had no choice but to tap.

There will be some disagreement on the UFC's pick for "Fight of the Night," but the bonuses went to Fabricio Werdum and Roy Nelson for their brutal three round fight. Werdum showed off a massively improved striking arsenal in the fight, hurting Nelson early and often with vicious muay thai knees to the body and the head. The assault in the first round had Nelson hurting and tired, but the always game "Big Country" wasn't going away. He continued to plow forward, looking for an opening for one big desperation blow, but it never came. Werdum continued to sprinkle in attacks in the second and third, enough so that he won each of those rounds, but Nelson's near impossible to put away.

Penick's Analysis: "Wonderboy" showed his striking chops against a not-all-that-good Dan Stittgen, but regardless of the level of competition that highlight came against, it's still the type of thing that will make people want to see him fight in the future. That's the point of prize-fighting, after-all, and to make people want to see your fights is an attribute not everyone possesses. Poirier continues to look fantastic in his UFC run, and though he likely might need one more win to get a title shot - because a win over a completely overmatched Holloway shouldn't put him there - he's well on his way to earning a shot. I'd give Chan Sung Jung the next title fight to strike while the iron is hot on his popularity, then set up the fight that was supposed to happen in Poirier-Koch this summer. As far as "FotN," I don't know that I would have gone with Werdum-Nelson, but I think the only other real option was the main event. I probably would have given it to Condit and Diaz, but I know I liked the fight a lot more than some.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/UFC_2/article_12414.shtml

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