Performances of the Night: Niko Price, Beneil Dariush
Niko Price and Tim Means put on one hell of a slobberknocker tonight when they took center cage. The action started quick, with both men landing heavy leather, and Means momentarily hurt, but able to shake it off and turn the tide. By mid-round, Means was tuning Price up, landing huge bombs squarely on Price’s mug. Means lands an illegal knee, but referee Rob Hinds missed it. After trading open-palm slaps, pianos and safes, Price lands a giant haymaker right hook that put Means down like a sack of ACME bricks. Niko was able to land a couple more before Hinds intervened. Niko Price gets the win and the $50,000 bonus.
Beneil Dariush and Drew Dober were pretty evenly matched going into this fight, and the way it unfolded illustrated that excellent matchmaking. After initially being hurt in one of the early exchanges, Dariush went into honeybadger mode, eating hard shot after hard shot. The second round saw Dober really crank up the pace and intensity, knocking Dariush down early and continuing to land angry stingers that were clearly taking a toll on Beneil. Then, in the last minute of R2, Dober gave up his back and Dariush took it but ended up slipping off. Dober looks for a guillotine, but it’s Beneil who finds an armbar and forces the tap. Beneil Dariush gets the win and the $50,000 bonus.
Fight of the Night:
Junior dos Santos and Derrick Lewis gave Wichita fans a fight for the ages when they swung for the fences with nearly every punch. We saw JDS wound Lewis to the gut, and as Ben Fowlkes noted on Twitter, “Few things are more dangerous than a wounded Derrick Lewis.” That proved true when he rope-a-doped, luring dos Santos just so he could smash him with a rocket. Back and forth it went for the first round.
The second round was a different animal, though, with JDS avoiding the onslaught of punches and jumping knees. Then, in a weird twist, Lewis rushes for a takedown and gets cracked with a big right from dos Santos. Two more and he’s down. Several more and Herb Dean has seen enough. Junior dos Santos gets the win and both men get a $50,000 for their gangbusters fight.