UFC Fight Night 106 — Fumbling in Fortaleza

UFC Fight Night 106

This is an interesting card, filled with some recognizable names. Many of them have past glories, while some were seemingly destined for glory but had gotten into slumps. Being in this Fight Night card means they’re still hanging on as UFC fighters, but most of them have been backed to a corner as far as their careers are concerned. Some may be questioning why they’re still doing it, while some may even be contemplating retirement. However, most of them are just trying to get back on the winning side of things, and winning in UFC Fight Night 106 could turn things around.

Being a Brazilian card, concerns regarding regulations in UFC Fight Night 106 were afloat. With Vitor Belfort and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main events, there may have been some chin-scratching going on. Belfort’s timidity with fights outside Brazil is well-known, and Shogun’s best days have been well behind him for years now. A familiar specter looms overhead in Fortaleza, Brazil.

UFC Fight Night 106 Main Card

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Vitor Belfort

Oh boy, it’s just not the same anymore. “The Roaring Tiger” Vitor Belfort is long gone, and this guy we just saw here in UFC Fight Night 106 got his ass handed to him in the first round. With 14 years between him and Kelvin Gastelum, it does seem like his true weakness is the aging process.

He has been in a deep slump before, and he rose again to become twice the Phenom that he was as a young man, but I don’t think he can get out of this one. That’s unless he either changes his fighting style to suit his aging body or is allowed his spinach again.

Meanwhile, with weight control no longer a problem, perhaps we can finally see Gastelum reach his full potential. Without having to dehydrate himself as drastically before every fight, he should be able to give the top contenders a run for their money.

I found Gastelum to be not easy to read. The commentators were praising Belfort’s quickness even at 39, but all I could think of was Gastelum was going to hit him as Belfort kept reacting to his jabs by just swaying his head back, much like Anderson Silva did against Chris Weidman in their first fight. That’s exactly what happened, with Gastelum landing a straight left to the face to spell the end for the older fighter. Even if he was able to get up, he was just too rocked at that point.

Belfort’s spin kick was impressive though. That was pretty quick.

Gastelum has always been talented, but he had hurdles to get over in order to reach this level of performance. With Vitor Belfort in his resume, things are looking up for the kid. Meanwhile, Belfort has announced his impending retirement, which is apt as his time may indeed be up.

Mauricio Rua vs. Gian Villante

When he was 24, he won the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Years later, he became UFC Light Heavyweight Champion for a time. Now, he wins a fight in a Fight Night card. We can’t really say he no longer has it, despite all the injuries and missed opportunities. No matter what, even if he’s the Shogun who got choked by Forrest Griffin, he’s still the Shogun who stomped on his opponents in Japan.

He’s still got it 11 years later. He’s not as spry or as fresh-faced as he used to be, but he can still bang like in his Chute Boxe days. His boxing was pretty okay, even landing some cross counters, one of which knocked Villante down in the first. But most of the time, he had been looking to land that big right hand, and Villante would land some shots on him too.

Most of the fight was a boxing match with some leg kicks for measure. Whenever it went to the ground, it didn’t stay there for long. Villante did well enough going toe to toe with Shogun, but his opponent did hit with the harder shots, especially with the straight right up top. Shogun also mixed in some body work and leg kicks to keep Villante’s hands tentative.

At the third, Villante came forward with shots at the third, and Shogun just landed a short right on the jaw, then went in with uppercuts and hooks to the head and body, which further exposed Villante. With the American visibly hurt, Shogun kept it up until referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight.

Edson Barboza vs. Beneil Dariush

I was indeed anticipating this fight in UFC Fight Night 106 to end in a knockout, and I wasn’t disappointed. Barboza just racks up the insane knockouts, this time with a jumping knee strike to the chin that sent Dariush into orbit, and that’s just after eating a jab.

Before that, I quite liked how Barboza was moving, moving on the outside like a southpaw usually would against an orthodox fighter. But here, it was he who was the orthodox fighter, and he made sure Dariush couldn’t get comfortable in range. Some would actually argue that Dariush was winning, which I thought was arguable since Barboza set the pace better.

But it all boils down to Barboza’s timing and instinct. Who would counter a jab with a jumping knee?

Ray Borg vs. Jussier Formiga

How can you go against a guy named RAY BORG?

This fight was about the difference in grappling ability between the two fighters, especially in the third round. Borg was able to do more damage from inside the guard than Formiga did from the back. It was more competitive during the first two rounds, and either fighters could’ve taken then.

The third round was the deciding factor, and I think the judges made the right decision. I’d like to see Borg eventually go up against Demetrious Johnson someday.

Bethe Correia vs. Marion Reneau

Well, this was a headscratcher in UFC Fight Night 106. It’s a majority draw, but it can be argued that Correia lost the fight. But since it took place in Brazil, she wouldn’t lose to a close decision. It was an entertaining fight, albeit a bit insanity-inducing with how Correia moved in there. (Also, how she booty danced at the end of the fight like she dominated was rather disconcerting.)

However, some may argue it was actually good judging. My take on it is that Correia didn’t have enough to put Reneau away, and Reneau didn’t do enough to beat Correia. In any case, Reneau still did a good enough job to negate whatever threats Correia may have presented, while I thought Correia didn’t look good in there.

Often when Correia tried to get in, Reneau would fire a shot that would keep her back. Where Correia did succeed was in taking the fight to either the clinch or the ground. But Reneau’s defense was good enough to stay in the fight and even got on top and on Correia’s back late in the fight to give some payback.

Personally, I thought it was just a weird one to judge.

Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means

All I can see in discussions in this rematch is ragging on about past issues for both fighters—Oliveira for missing weight and then taunting Will Brooks after beating him by TKO and Means for his USADA violation (which turned out to be tainted supplements). Too bad because the Brazilian Cowboy did well in this fight with a second round submission win.

That “accidental” knee in their first fight in UFC 207 was rather weird. Means landed several knees to Oliveira’s head while he had a hand on the canvas, which would’ve considered him downed in the old Unified Rules (revision was implemented in January 2017).

That and the taunting against Will Brooks was all people could talk about, and that somehow means this victory is somewhat tainted for Oliveira due to his current reputation. I don’t care about that stuff; all I know is that Oliveira did some sick suplexes in this fight.

UFC Fight Night 106 Preliminaries and Other Comments

The most interesting preliminary fight in UFC Fight Night 106 was definitely Michel Prazeres’ first round submission win against the veteran Josh Burkman. We don’t see a lot of north-south chokes, and usually those you may be able to dig up belong to “The Snowman” Jeff Monson.

Pardon me, but that was the only fight I could take note of. I’m not able to watch the others as of this writing. (Gotta get back to work.)

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