Welterweight fighters Impa Kasanganay and Sasha Palatnikov debuted the new Venum apparel in the UFC Vegas 23 early prelims. The welterweight opener officially kicked off UFC's multi-year partnership with Venum.
Tonight's fight card is also the first event held under the new UFC promotional guidelines, which makes it mandatory for fighters and their cornermen to only sport the Venum apparel to the Octagon.
The Venum deal is also expected to slightly raise fighter payouts. The overall boost will amount to nearly $1 million and will be awarded based on the fighter's in-cage experience.
With tonight's opening bout, Impa Kasanganay made his third UFC outing, which makes him eligible for $4,000 as promotional pay from Venum. His opponent Sasha Palatnikov has had two UFC bouts, which puts him in the $4,000 bracket.
ESPN's Marc Raimondi recently revealed the fighter payout structure under the new promotional pay guidelines. A $32,000 and $42,000 compliance pay will be added to the paycheck of a title challenger and a champion respectively:
“VENUM is an iconic combat sports brand that understands the unique needs of MMA athletes. Franck Dupuis and his team at VENUM have the technical knowledge and experience that will produce world-class UFC fight kits and apparel. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them in the evolution of UFC’s outfitting program."
Who won tonight's welterweight opener?
Impa Kasanganay made his UFC welterweight debut tonight with a bang. The former middleweight floored Sasha Palatnikov with his wrestling in the first round and followed it with an arm triangle submission attempt. Palatnikov scrambled out of the hold and the rest of the round saw the two combatants throwing down in the clinch.
In the second round, Impa Kasanganay threw a heavy right hand that rocked Sasha Palatnikov. Kasanganay smelled blood and immediately locked in a rear-naked choke, forcing Palatnikov to tap out.
With this victory, Impa Kasanganay has rebounded back into the win column after the devastating spinning hook kick knockout by Joaquin Buckley last year.