UFC 296 Bonus Breakdown: Who Walked Away With Extra Cash?

Among the many stars at the UFC 296 event, the bonus was won by female fighters from the preliminary part of the event

by Sededin Dedovic
UFC 296 Bonus Breakdown: Who Walked Away With Extra Cash?
© Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

UFC 296: A fight card packed with championship-caliber bouts and seasoned veterans promised an epic send-off to 2023. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to the hype, leaving fans with a bittersweet taste of disappointment (our personal opinion and guess).

On paper, it was a dream lineup. Title fights in both the welterweight and women's bantamweight divisions, seasoned veterans like Tony Ferguson and Stephen Thompson, and rising stars like Shavkat Rakhmonov and Paddy Pimblett.

However, despite the star power, the matches failed to ignite the expected fireworks.

Bantam category fighters provided an excellent match

Amidst the disappointment, however, some fighters shined brighter than the dimmed lights of T-Mobile Arena.

Irene Aldana and Karol Rosa, in a brutal bantamweight fight, held a master class of aggression and technical skills. 204 punches were exchanged, resilience tested and in the end, Aldana emerged victorious thanks to the nod of the judges.

This fight was not just a technical ballet; it was a warrior's spirit, an unmissable spectacle for every fight lover. They shut the mouths of critics of women's MMA.

Three bonus winners for best performance of the night

Apart from the main ticket, other performances also deserved recognition.

Josh Emmett, Ariane Lipski and Shamil Gaziev will also have better holidays, as it is the trio that White decided to reward with a bonus for the best performance of the night. In his UFC debut, Gaziev knocked out Martin Buday, while Ariane Lipski finished Casey O'Neill with an armbar, a fighter who until this year was considered a talent for the very top of the flyweight category.

While several other fighters such as Andre Fili, Shavkat Rakhmonov, Cody Garbrandt and Tagir Ulanbekov could have easily made the cut, the UFC narrowed it down to five lucky recipients. Their performances, while perhaps overshadowed by the overall disappointment, offered a glimmer of hope that the year wouldn't end on a complete sour note.

From dominating displays of toughness to jaw-dropping debuts, the night wasn't a complete wash, but definitely those fights from which the most was expected did not give the audience what they came for.