UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 was going to be historic no matter the outcome of the main event. If Kamaru Usman would have won, he would’ve tied the great Anderson Silva for the longest win streak in UFC history at 16. Instead, Leon Edwards pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever, taking down the organization’s top pound-for-pound talent, as a +295 underdog. In the process, he became the second UK champion in the UFC. The wins kept rolling for the new welterweight champion after the night too when the UFC 278 payouts and bonuses were released as well.
Performance of the Night: Leon Edwards and Victor Altamirano
From top to bottom, Saturday night was set to be exciting, and the evening’s Performance of the Night bonus recipients reflect that. First, Victor Altamirano got the event started with a bang when he forced a stoppage in the first round of his bout against Daniel Da Silva. It was a stunning performance by Altamirano who flipped the script mid-fight after weathering an early barrage from Da Silva, ending the contest on top of Da Silva and raining down hammering blows.
In the main event, Edwards too changed the tide of things on his way to securing the welterweight hardware. After taking the first round of the title match, he saw Usman take the next three for a 39-37 advantage on the officials’ scorecards entering the final frame. With less than a minute left, as Usman was likely settling for a win by decision, Edwards saw an opening and landed a brutal head kick, putting out the champion. For their impressive victories, both Edwards and Altamirano were awarded a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus to their UFC 278 payouts.
Fight of the Night: Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold
For all of the excitement that the main event brought, it was the co-headliner at UFC 278 that earned Fight of the Night honors. Paulo Costa snapped his losing streak, going the distance with former division champion Luke Rockhold for three rounds. Despite Costa sweeping the scorecards for a unanimous decision, there were moments late where Rockhold delivered some significant blows in an attempt to nab the fight.
Stylistically, it was a unique fight to see, with both fighters trading massive kicks, and the left hand of Rockhold looked strong. In the end, Costa got his hand raised as he continues his ascent in the middleweight division, and Rockhold elected to ride off into retirement. For delivering the Fight of the Night, both fighters received a $50,000 bonus with their UFC 278 payouts. Not a bad parting gift for the former champion.
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UFC 278 Main Card and Preliminaries Payouts*
Unlike last weekend at UFC San Diego, the fighter salaries for UFC 278 are not public knowledge. One of the payment pieces we do know, however, is the amount each fighter received from Venum as part of the sponsorship program. Under the Venum sponsorship, the athletes are paid a bonus for their fight on a scaling base, depending on their experience in the Octagon.
Usman was the top earner from Venum as the reigning champion, taking home an additional $42,000 with his UFC 278 payout. Behind him, Edwards’ earnings for the night continued to grow as he picked up $32,000 for challenging for the title. Sean Woodson, Alexandr Romanov, and Wu Yanan each pulled one fight away from a $1,500 increase in their Venum payout, making their fifth appearances in the UFC.
UFC 278 Payouts for Venum Sponsorship (based on number of fights in the UFC)
$4,000 (1-3 fights): Victor Altamirano (2), Daniel Da Silva (3), Aoriquleng (3), Jay Perrin (2), Amir Albazi (2), Francisco Figueiredo (3), AJ Fletcher (2), Ange Loosa (2), Luis Saldana (3), Harry Hunsucker (3)
$4,500 (4-5 fights): Sean Woodson (5), Alexandr Romanov (5), Wu Yanan (5)
$6,000 (6-10 fights): Jared Gordon (10), Tyson Pedro (8), Lucie Pudilova (7), Merab Dvalishvilil (9), Paulo Costa (8)
$11,000 (11-15 fights): Leonardo Santos (11), Luke Rockhold (11)
$16,000 (16-20 fights): Marcin Tybura (16), José Aldo (19)
$21,000 (21+ fights): N/A
$32,000 (Title Challenger): Leon Edwards
$42,000 (Champion): Kamaru Usman
UFC 278 Results
Leon Edwards KO’d Kamaru Usman – Round 5
Paulo Costa defeated Luke Rockhold – Unanimous Decision
Merab Dvalishvilil defeated José Aldo – Unanimous Decision
Lucie Pudilova TKO’d Wu Yanan – Round 2
Tyson Pedro TKO’d Harry Hunsucker – Round 1
Marcin Tybura defeated Alexandr Romanov – Majority Decision
Jared Gordon defeated Leonardo Santos – Unanimous Decision
Sean Woodson and Luis Saldana fought to a Split Draw
Ange Loosa defeated AJ Fletcher – Unanimous Decision
Amir Albazi submitted Francisco Figueiredo by rear-naked choke – Round 1
Aoriquleng defeated Jay Perrin – Unanimous Decision