Wales' Brett Johns beat favourite Tony Gravely at UFC Raleigh in Carolina to return to winning ways in his first fight in 17 months.
Before the bout Johns feared defeat would mean the end of his UFC contract.
But the 27-year-old bantamweight forced a third-round submission from his opponent.
Gravely had won his previous seven fights while Johns had not fought since an August 2018 defeat to Brazilian Pedro Munhoz because of a knee injury.
The encounter was awarded fight of the night status, earning each man $50,000 or just over £38,000.
Johns told MMA Junkie last week that he "was really close to stopping fighting" after the Munhoz defeat, but he bounced back in style on Saturday night.
The Swansea fighter was the first Welshman to fight on a numbered UFC event when he beat South Korean Kwan Ho-kwak in Belfast in November 2016.
He beat Americans Albert Morales and Joe Soto in 2017, but lost twice in 2018 - against Aljamain Sterling in Atlantic City in April and then Munhoz at Los Angeles Staples Center four months later.
Gravely, 28, had won 19 of 26 previous professional fights and was awarded a UFC contract after beating fellow American Ray Rodriguez on Dana White's Contender series in August.