The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was in Albany, NY for the first time in promotional history with UFC Fight Night 102: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov. The solid night of fights saw 50 percent of them end inside the distance. After the event concluded, the UFC awarded $50,000 to two fighters for ‘Performance of the Night’ and two fighters for ‘Fight of the Night’. The lines to wager on these props were available at 5Dimes Sportsbook. The post-fight bonus winners were… Gian Villante and Saparbek Safarov earn Fight of the Night honors for their back-and-forth battle to kick off the evening’s main card in Villante’s backyard of Albany. Both light heavyweight fighters had their moments in this action packed contest that saw Villante win via TKO in the second round of action. Both 205-pounders saw their stock rise following this bout, but unfortunately for Safarov, he got his first taste of professional mixed martial arts defeat. Villante secured the victory in impressive fashion and returned to the win column following a unanimous decision loss to Ilir Latifi earlier this year. Noteworthy fight(s): – Shane Burgos defeated Tiago Trator via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards in his short notice UFC debut. The Tiger Schulmann product nearly put Trator away on a number of occasions, but the durable Brazilian toughed it out and fought on to see the judges’ decision. It was a solid promotional debut for Burgos, who remained undefeated with the solid win in an entertaining brawl that many that pegged as a lock for ‘Fight of the Night’ until Gian Villante and Saparbek Safarov took center stage. I had personally recommended a wager on Burgos/Trator winning FOTN at +650. Francis Ngannou earns Performance of the Night for his first round kimura submission of Jackson-Wink MMA fighter Anthony “Freight Train” Hamilton. It was a great, eye-opening performance by Ngannou, who had previously won all of his bouts by T/KO. He is arguably the best prospect in the UFC’s heavyweight division, and fight fans certainly look forward to his next Octagon outing; and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later. Gerald Meerschaert earns Performance of the Night for his first-round anaconda-choke submission of Joe Gigliotti in his promotional debut. It was a picture perfect debut for the Roufusport product, who looks to make a run in the UFC’s 185-pound division. Noteworthy Performance(s): – Derrick Lewis came back from a three-round defecit to find himself on top of his opponent Shamil Abdurakhimov on the mat, where he put his signature ground and pound on full display, forcing the referee to step in and halt the action, rewarding “The Black Beast” with the come from behind victory. That was the position many expected he needed to get to to finish this fight, as he had done so with many previous opponents, and it took him over three rounds to do so. Lucky for him, it was not a three-round contest, but at the end of the day, he came through with the impressive finish. – Villante’s aforementioned second-round TKO of short notice promotional newcomer Saparbek Safarov. – Corey “Overtime” Anderson dropped the “Beastin’ 25/8” moniker and returned from a controversial split-decision loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to take on Sean O’Connell, and he defeated him via TKO in the second round of action. Anderson dominated the fight with his wrestling, eventually scoring a ground-and-pound stoppage in the second stanza. – Randy Brown dominated promotional newcomer Brian Camozzi in this welterweight contest, eventually stopping him with a TKO in the second round of action. It was an excellent outing by the New York native, who improves to two straight wins inside the Octagon.