Little-known middleweight Trevor (Hot Sauce) Smith lost but left Seattle with a US$50,000 bonus cheque in his pocket and praise from UFC president Dana White.
"I told Smith 'I didn't even know your name yesterday,' " White told reporters after Smith and Ed (Short Fuse) Herman won fight-of-the-night honours Saturday with a wild, bone-rattling 15 minutes of action. " 'I know your name today.' "
In contrast, Canadian welterweight contender Rory (Ares) MacDonald won comfortably but drew a tongue-lashing from his boss and boos from the KeyArena crowd of 7,816 after a methodical co-main event victory over Jake (The Juggernaut) Ellenberger.
Such is life in the UFC, where winning often isn't enough.
The organization is set up to reward performance, with most fight contracts carrying an automatic matching win bonus. So an undercard fighter on a basic purse of $8,000 can double his pay with a victory.
"You want more money? Go get it," said White, who has been under fire in recent months over fighter pay. "Go get it. Believe me, guys who deserve more money, we pay them. We pay the guys who make a difference."
Smith (10-4) and Herman (21-7 with one no-contest) are not likely to win any titles but they put on a show, connecting on a combined 160 significant strikes in three rounds, according to FightMetric. Both fighters were repeatedly wobbled throughout the free-swinging fight, which drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.
Herman's post-fight celebration was interrupted by a precautionary trip to hospital, where he was given a clean bill of health -- at least as clean as it can be after such a beating.
In a fight where defence seemed optional, Smith was good on 87-of-108 significant strike attempts while Herman connected on 73 of 129.
In contrast, MacDonald connected on just 46-of-118 significant strike attempts. Ellenberger's figures were even worse, 19 of 97.
So will that performance impact the kind of fighters MacDonald is matched against?
"No. Rory's one of the best in the world," said White. "He didn't look it tonight but the fact of the matter is he is... This will be a learning experience for him, hopefully."
-- The Canadian Press