Talbott shines with knockout but 'Bite Bonus' steals the show at UFC on ESPN 53

We watched a total of 13 matches as part of the UFC on ESPN 53 event, and the bonus award was a real show

by Sededin Dedovic
Talbott shines with knockout but 'Bite Bonus' steals the show at UFC on ESPN 53
© UFC / Youtube channel

The UFC on ESPN 53 event featured a total of 13 exciting matches, so it's safe to say that not a single match disappointed. Although the event didn't really set the world on fire because top fighters don't compete in these kinds of events on ESPN.

But this last event certainly had its moments, with several fighters working above and beyond to earn their keep in the UFC and a little more in the form of a bonus – an extra $50,000 in cold, hard cash. The event was led by Rose Namajunas and Amanda Ribas with a flyweight fight.

Namajunas, as the former champion of the straw category, moved to a higher category last year. "Thug" Rose lost to Manon Fiorot in her debut in the flyweight category, but last night she proved that she can defeat a high-ranking fighter in the 57 kg category.

Rose Namajunas© Mike Stobe / Getty Images

In a five-round bout, Namajunas defeated seventh-ranked challenger Amanda Ribas. It was a very good performance by Rosa Namajunas, but also the performance we expected from her.

The fight of the night bonus undoubtedly went to Jarn Errens and Steven Nguyen, who both showed outstanding skill and determination in their featherweight bout. Over the course of 15 intense minutes, these two warriors showcased their strength and technique, culminating in a unanimous decision victory for Jarn Errens.

The 29-year-old Dutch fighter faced adversity early in his UFC career, suffering two straight losses. However, he rose to the occasion, weathered the storm and emerged victorious against Nguyen, earning himself a well-deserved bonus.

While Steven Nguyen may not look back fondly on his UFC debut, the bonus serves as a silver lining to his bitter defeat. Fully deserved bonus won, we watched a real war and a spectacle. In the realm of performance bonuses, one fighter stood out above the rest – Payton Talbott.

The 25-year-old bantamweight put in a performance that exceeded all expectations, securing a second-round knockout victory over the talented Cameron Saaiman who was the slight favourite. While much was expected of the young Talbott, few expected such a dominant performance at this early stage of his career.

The victory did not surprise anyone much, but Saaiman was simply not on the level of the promising Talbott. The 25-year-old American won his contract through Dana White's Contender Series, and with his performance and approach to fighting, he reminds a lot of Sean O'Malley.

This is a fighter who is technically very skilled in fighting on the feet, fluid movements and fast hands. His bonus wasn't just earned; it was practically inevitable. We hope that this will be an incentive and wind at the young fighter's back to train even more and progress.

Joining Talbott in bonus glory is none other than Fernando Padilla, the 27-year-old Mexican fighter who took just two minutes and 45 seconds to knock out Peru's Luis Pajuela. Padilla sealed the deal with a submission victory, and showed incredible control in the clinch.

But the bonuses didn't stop there, something happened that made everyone laugh and surprise. UFC president Dana White had a surprise up his sleeve, deciding to award an extra bonus on top of the usual. When Andre Lima emerged victorious over Igor Severino, who was disqualified for an incredible bite, White couldn't resist injecting some humor into the proceedings.

He called it a "bite bonus" and immediately presented Lima with a $25,000 prize. Although Lima wasn't the one to sink his teeth into his opponent, he was recognized for enduring the bite and keeping his composure.

At one point, Lima began to complain to the judge and claimed that Severino bit him.

There was a pause and a review of the footage, with Lima showing a bite mark on the bicep of his left arm. The video showed that Severino actually bit Lima and the fight ended with the disqualification of Igor Severino, and the Brazilian was fired from the UFC not long after.

After learning of his bonus, Andre Lima wasted no time in marking the occasion in a unique way. The Brazilian fighter headed straight for the tattoo parlor, where he requested a tattoo around the bite site, a gesture that both amused and impressed White.

In the end, Lima left with a full 50,000 dollars in his pocket, and also showed a good sense of humor, which will positively affect his popularity. Sometimes situations like this mean more than a routine victory over a solid fighter.

For the second week in a row, the UFC offered us an event that doesn't offer particularly big names and matches, but we definitely watched the event beyond our expectations. Although some matches were perhaps a little "dead", the whole event was very exciting and the "bite bonus" took all the glory at the end.