It got ugly before he got the win, but Anthony Smith not only earned the victory over Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 138 on Saturday, he also walked away with a performance bonus.
Smith has earned his stripes, fighting 35 times before he ever entered the Octagon, but he's now taken his game to another level. He went 4-2 as a middleweight, but with his victory over Oezdemir in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada; Smith is now 3-0 at light heavyweight and aiming for a title shot.
Smith took out former champions Rashad Evans and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the first round, but he had to dig deep against Oezdemir. He ate numerous leg kicks and was exhausted by the time he secured a fight-finishing rear-naked choke late in the third round, but it was the type of showing that often builds careers, and was certainly one that earned Smith a Performance of the Night bonus of $50,000.
The other bonuses were doled out to undercard fighters, as Don Madge landed a blistering head kick to lay out Te Edwards in the featured bout on the UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims. Madge was awarded the second Performance of the Night bonus.
Fight of the Night honors went to Nasrat Haqparast and Thibault Gouti, who battled it out for the duration of their three-round bout on the Fox Sports 1 Prelims. Haqparast took a unanimous decision, but both fighters went home with an additional $50,000 for their efforts in the bout.
UFC Fight Night 138 Performance Bonuses
Performance of the Night: Anthony Smith
Performance of the Night: Don Madge
Fight of the Night: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Thibault Gouti