UFC Fight Night 106 is going down March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil with a 6 fight main card with tons a Brazilian talent.
Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Vitor has his back against the wall in this one. He lost his last two fights by TKO and 39 years old with no TRT to keep his body together. So now Vitor rocks a dad body and does the best he can with what he has left.
He is still very skilled but doesn’t have the explosion he used to and that is a big part of his game. For the first 3-5 minutes, he is a very dangerous guy. Outside of that, tough imagining he has the endurance to keep up with a smaller and faster fighter.
Gastelum has been forced to compete in the middleweight division for the second time after missing weight several times at welterweight. No stranger of the middleweight division, he won the Ultimate Fighter at middleweight against Uriah Hall. He is coming off an impressive win over Tim Kennedy that had him look very impressive against a much larger opponent.
I see Kelvin weather the early storm with takedowns to pick it up in the second and third rounds for a finish or dominate the decision.
Prediction: Kelvin by TKO in the third
Maurício “Shogun” Rua vs. Gian Villante
While every fight fan wants to remember the savage that tore through Pride, his UFC run hasn’t been what most expected. He has gone a mild 8-8 in the UFC but always put up against the division’s best and even held the title. At 34 years old and plenty of injuries, Shogun doesn’t have too much left in the tank so it is great to see him fighting someone out of the top 10 again. Shogun continues to falter against the elite but destroys those he should.
Gian has the tools to be a staple of the 205 division but seems to lack the fight IQ to put the tools together. A strong collegiate wrestler that is good friends and the main sparring partner of Chris Weidman.
If Corey Anderson couldn’t win a decision against Shogun in their last fight, I have a hard time seeing Villante showing anything new to the veteran.
Prediction: Shogun by TKO in the first
Edson Barboza vs. Beneil Dariush
Edson Barboza is coming off two of his biggest wins of his career against Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez and established himself as the elite fighter most expected him to become. So it is a little weird he is getting the matchup against Dariush who has only beaten one 10 top opponents and that was by controversial split decision.
Edson is the best Muay Thai practitioner in the lightweight division with blisteringly fast/strong kicks. He has developed his grappling skills in the Northwest with the coaching of Ricardo Almeida so Barboza has the confidence to throw combos on the feet.
Beneil came into MMA with some legit grappling credentials getting his BJJ black belt in 5 years winning multiple nogi world championship on the way. He has been training at Kings MMA with other elite fighters like RDA and Werdum. With the instruction of Rafael Cordeiro, he is a black belt in Muay Thai as well. While he striking is very good for an elite striker, he can’t go kick for kick and punch for punch with Edson.
So unless he can get the fight to the ground, he will be slowly picked apart on the feet for 15 minutes.
Prediction: Barboza by decision
Jussier Formiga vs. Ray Borg
I really like Ray Borg but Formiga is a tough out for most of the flyweight division. Formiga is taller with more reach not that his striking is good enough to really take advantage of it. His punches are looking better and good enough to slug it out with most of the division. He truly shines on the mat, but that is only if he can get it there.
Borg should be the more athletic guy but I don’t think he has the tools to take him out. He could pull off the upset as he is the much younger fighter by 8 years and outpace Formiga for 3 rounds.
I see Jussier getting at least two round in his home of Brazil.
Prediction: Formiga by decision
Bethe Correia vs. Marion Reneau
Despite being a title challenger, Bethe still has tons to prove in the cage. Very few pundits, myself included, have been impressed with her striking ability which is where she usual tries to keep the fight. Her aggression and cardio are what have carried her through fights. She is going to have to have developed a few more skills to be able to take out the longer and taller striker.
Marion is the more well rounded and gifted fighter so expect her to use everything to win a dominating fight.
Prediction: Reneau by decision
Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira vs. Tim “Dirty Bird” Means
They two men fought each other for a solid three minutes until Means kneed Oliveira in the face as a “downed” opponent. This was a very controversial calling as Oliveira’s hands weren’t down when the knees landed plus this was the last UFC fight where that rule is still valid. The fight was considered a No Contest so they are rewinding the tape so the fans can get a real conclusion.
The dirty bird should have the technique advantage but Oliveira will be the strong guy even in the clinch. That was pretty much how the first fight was playing out and should have concluded. I’m sure Oliveria will be pushing to get the fight to the ground but will be caught in the storm that is Means’ clinch game.
Prediction: Tim Means by TKO in the second