Hello all and welcome to our live coverage of UFC Fight Night 106! The Phenom Vitor Belfort headlines the card along with Kelvin Gastelum in what promises to be a rollicking main event. Another former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in Shogun Rua stitches up the co-main event spot against American grappler Gian Villante.
Other notable fights on the card include an early shoo-in for Fight Of The Night between walking highlight reel Edson Barboza and the well-rounded Beneil Dariush.
Jussier Formiga takes on Ray Borg in a flyweight contender fight, with the latter coming off a very commendable victory over Louis Smolka.Bethe Correia fights Marion Reneau in what is the sole Women's bout on the card while the Brazilian cowboy Alex Oliveira rematches the Dirty Bird Tim Means to round up the main card.
Vitor Belfort is coming off back to back losses, but such has been his track record and fighting style that you can never really write him off. Also, there is a very valid argument to be made that both of his last opponents, Jacare Souza and Gegard Mousasi, considerably overmatched him at this stage of his career.
However, he isn't called the Phenom for no reason and to be honest, I don't recall him looking this determined to prove a point of late. Vitor Belfort is always good for one spectacular finish and Gastelum has to be very alert that he doesn't give`him an opening.I reminisce to how he almost armbar-ed Jon Jones or how he left Luke Rockhold seeing stars with spinning heel kick, and I don't feel that this is as straight forward a match-up for Gastelum as some may make it out to be.
Kelvin Gastelum, ever since he won the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, has been earmarked as a top future contender in my book. His journey hasn't been without its share of frustrations, especially with the weight issues, but his move to Middleweight seems to have rejuvenated his career.The performance against Tim Kennedy was but a glimpse of what Gastelum is capable of if he comes off a smooth weight cut and a successful training camp.
His game is adorned with crisp boxing and backed up by a solid ground game. His cardio is usually on point and he's got a hell of a chin.On paper, Kelvin Gastelum has every attribute to threaten the upper echelons of whichever weight class he competes in, although a legitimate concern is that even Vitor Belfort, who is one of the smaller competitors in the Middleweight division, seemed to tower over him at the weigh ins.
Another Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Mauricio Shogun Rua, looks to keep his winning momentum going against #12 ranked Gian Villante, who would probably see this fight as a golden chance to break into the top 10. If Demian Maia is to be believed, Shogun has looked fresh and ready to go in the lead up to this contest, and home country advantage may prove crucial in this encounter.
At this stage of his career, another title run for Shogun seems quite unlikely considering the kind of killers that inhabit the division, but he would nonetheless be looking to prove that he is far from done.Shogun seems to be slowing down, fighting only once in 2015 and 2016 respectively, but both those outings have ended favourably for the Brazilian legend.
Villante has a point to prove in this fight that he's much more than a top 15 gatekeeper, and a victory over a former Champion would go a long way towards establishing that notion.
As interesting as the main event and the co-main event may be, however, Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush has every marking of being the true show stealer of the night.
Barboza is, arguably, the best kicker in the UFC along with the likes of Wonderboy, while Dariush is as well-rounded as they come.Barboza has managed to build up a head of steam towards another tilt at the Title with successive victories over kick-heavy kindred spirit Anthony Pettis and a very game Gilbert Melendez, after slipping up against Tony Ferguson.
With Ferguson in title contention now, it goes to show just how close Barboza was to inserting his name into the mix. A victory over Dariush, however, would certainly aid his cause.On his part, Dariush would be looking to state his case for breaking into the top 5 with a victory over the Brazilian.
He's been mentioned in the same breath of top prospects for far too long, without actually making good on his potential. Vanquishing Barboza would quash that notion, and how!
Read our preview and predictions article for the full card, all the way from the Fight Pass Prelims, right here!
Middleweight Fight: Garreth McLellan vs Paulo Borrachinha
Round 1:Borrachinha began by immediately taking the centre of the cage and pressuring McLellan who eventually found himself with his back to the cage. Borrachinha then unloaded with hard left and right rights with a right head kick thrown in to prevent McLellan from circling out. McLellan survived the first onslaught but just over a minute into the fight he collapsed forward and Borrachinha finished him off with ground and pound.
Paulo Borrachinha def. Garreth McLellan via TKO (Punches) 1:17, Round 1
Featherweight Fight: Rony Jason vs Jeremy Kennedy Round 1:Tentative start to the fight by both men. Jason eventually landed a big right hook after 90 seconds and in the next exchange he exploded forward with a big flying knee that dropped Kennedy. Kennedy was able to get up without taking much further damage and attempted his own takedown against the cage. He eventually succeeded and began landing shots on the ground before Jason used the cage to stand up. Kennedy got another takedown against the cage and was able to land some good ground and pound from Jason's guard in the last minute of the round.
Round 2:Jason landed a good leaping left hook and the two fighters began swinging hard shots at each other. When they reset, Jason landed another flying knee which dropped Kennedy. Kennedy was effective at defending from his guard and Jason struggled to get any offence off. With Jason unable to pass and Kennedy unable to lock up any submissions they were in a stalemate and the fight was stood up. Kennedy landed a hard groin shot on Jason which was the only strike of any not after they stood up.
Round 3:Kennedy shot for a takedown after 30 seconds but Jason battled against the fence valiantly and they separated. Kennedy then timed a double leg perfectly in the middle of the cage and put Jason on his back. Kennedy mixed it up well with his ground and pound landing shots to the body and the head and also throwing hard elbows. Jason looked for an omoplata but was unable to secure it although it did help him get to his feet. Kennedy didn't wait long to shoot for another takedown and he was able to control Jason for the rest of the fight.
Jeremy Kennedy def. Rony Jason via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Finish of the fight: Lightweight Fight: Michel Prazeres vs Joshua Burkman
Round 1:After a few secondsPrazeres exploded forward with a ferocious combination that stunned Burkman and he swarmed on hm and had Burkman stumbling around the cage. Burkman eventually grabbed onto Prazeres and found momentary solace in the clinch before they went to the ground and Prazeres locked in a north south choke and forced the tap
Michel Prazeres def. Joshua Burkman via Submission (north-south choke) 1:42 Round 1
Burkman retired right after the fight, which was the 45th fight of his 15 year career
Round 1:Yahya began the fight very aggressively, blitzing forward with combinations but Soto landed a hard right hand which put Yahya to the ground. He seemed to be more off balance than badly hurt and they continued.
Yahya resumed control of the stand up, showing good variety with his shots and great movement. Soto struggled to close the distance effectively with his shots.
Yahya shot for a takedown against the fence and got Soto down. Soto attempted a guillotine but wasn't close, and Yahya ended the round in half guard.
Round 2:There was a nasty clash of heads right at the start of the second round which caused a big cut on Soto and seemed to stun Yahya for a moment.
Yahya shot for a takedown but was too far and Soto got to his back but he scrambled to his feet quickly. Soto having more success on the feet in round two even as the blood pours from his head.
Yahya again fails on a takedown attempt and while he is still landing shots he is finding himself backed up the cage more often. Another poor takedown attempt was punished with Soto getting on top but again Yahya rose quickly.
Both men swung wildly in the last minute but are both badly fatigued, Soto again ended up on top in a scrambled and landed some good ground and pound to end the round
Round 3:Yahya needed to be helped to his corner after the second and his first takedown attempt of round 3 was as weak as the last few of the previous round and he ended up on the bottom.
Soto landed hard ground and pound and eventually moved to side control before Yahya was able to get to his knees. Even there Soto kept pressure and and kept landing shots. Yahya tried to roll but he had nothing left in the tank at this point and ended up on his back again.
Soto went for an armbar with a minute to go but Yahya defended and got to his feet. He tried to attack but he had very little left to give and could only get himself taken down in the final seconds.
Joe Soto def. Rani Yahya via Unanimous Decision (29-28,29-27, 29-27)
Round 1: Slow start to the round between these two grapplers as neither attempted a takedown. Moraes looked to stay on the outside and use his long limbs to jab and throw kicks, while Ramos was exploding with hard counters on the inside.
The round continued in this way and was a stalemate for large periods as Moraes tasted Ramos' power and become more reluctant to get close.
Round 2: Round two continued more of the same but there was a bit more pressure from Ramos at moments.
Ramos landed a nice straight right to the body which seemed to hurt Moraes a bit. Ramos was having a bit more success with his jab to head and body in this round so was giving Moraes a bit more of a problem at range but the fight was still very cagey.
Ramos shot the first takedown of the fight late in the round but it was easily defended.
Round 3: Moraes began the round well landing kicks and jabs. Ramos was having little success closing the distance and landing shots in the early going.
He tried blitzing forward and throwing spinning kicks but to no avail, and Moraes continued to control the action, what little action there was anyway.
Ramos did have moments with Moraes backed up to the cage but was never able to land.
It is a strange facet of MMA, that you can watch two world class BJJ black belts fight out a poor kickboxing match, but there you are.
Lightweight Fight: #11 Francisco Trinaldo vs Kevin Lee Round 1: Lee threw a head right at the start of the round and Trinaldo showed his powerful left hand. Lee shot for a takedown and he was pretty relentless but Trinaldo defended well.
Not long later though he shot for a takedown and was able to land it but Trinaldo was very active from his guard, threatening with submissions. Trinaldo got back to his feet and they seperated after a long clinch.
After they broke Trinaldo cracked Lee with a huge left hand and stunned Lee who immediately shot for a takedown. Trinaldo was able to stay up and Lee looked okay.
Trinaldo landed hard shots like an elbow in close and then a body shot and he ended up on top of Lee briefly after a feeble takedown attempt.
Lee was relentless with the takedown attempts and they clinched against the cage until the last few seconds when they broke and Trinaldo threw a flurry.
Round 2: Slow start to the round as Lee knows the power of Trinaldo now. He is trying to land shots and stay out of range of Trinaldo's big left hand.
Lee eventually shot for a takedown but it wasn't well set up and Trinaldo defended easily. When they broke Lee landed a big head kick and in the clinch that followed he landed a takedown and ended up in mount.
Trinaldo rolled which allowed Lee to take the back. Lee worked for the rear naked choke and he got under the chin and forced the submission.
Kevin Lee def. Francisco Trinaldo via Submission (rear naked choke) 3:12 Round 2
Welterweight Fight: Alex 'Cowboy' Oliveira vs Tim 'Dirty Bird' Means Round 1: Frantic start with aggression from both men but little landed clean. They clinched against the fence and Oliveira ended up with a takedown and found himself in Means' guard.
The grappling was a real war of attrition, Oliveira continued to have the upper hand but wasn't doing much damage. Oliveira landed two big suplexes but Means reversed him soon after and ended up on top in side control.
Oliveira was able to prevent Means from doing too much damaged and he recovered guard as the round ended.
Round 2: Oliveira threw a big spinning big but Mrans ducked under it for a takedown attempt. Oliveira was just too strong for him though and he put Means back to the fence for a bit.
Oliveira landed a few knees in the clinch and then got the takedown. Means tried to scramble, he gave his back but was able to get to his feet. Oliveira dragged him right back to the ground though and got a body lock.
He started working for the rear naked choke and he didn't long to get it locked up. Means had no choice other than submission.
Alex Oliveira def. Tim Means via Submission (rear naked choke) 2:38 Round 2
Women's Bantamweight Fight: #9 Bethe Correia vs #13 Marion Reneau Round 1: Correia the more active fighter with her hands in the early going. Reneau was trying to land kicks on the outside but the fight was slow early on.
Reneau landed her best kicks of the fight and Correia pushed the action into the cage in a clinch. Neither fighter was able to do much damage in the clinch.
Reneau was starting to put her strikes together well and put pressure on Correia before a late takedown from Correia stopped her in her tracks.
Round 2: Correia showing more aggression early in the second round, and it wasn't long until they were in the clinch with Reneau backed into the fence. She was able to separate without taking any damage though.
Correia is a bit more fluid now and finding her rhythm landing combinations and counter left hands. She rocked Reneau's head back with a big uppercut.
Correia really stamping her authority on the round with varied combinations including body work. She then caught a kick and put Reneau on her back with a takedown.
Correia was in the guard of Reneau which is not a safe place to be. Reneau tried to lock up a triangle and Corriea had to get her head out to avoid danger.
Round 3: Reneau landed a huge head kick at the start of the third round that had Correia struggling. Reneau tried to pile on the strikes and Correia looked close to be being finished but she shot for a takedown to buy some time.
Correia ended up on her back with Reneau in half guard but she quickly mounted. She was landing huge shots on Correia who turned over onto her stomach and created a scramble but ultimately ended up in the same place.
Correia fought her way up briefly but tried for a takedown over her own and again ended up on the bottom getting pounded. Correia gave her back and Reneau got her hooks in and began working for the choke and punching to try and soften Correia up. Despite the best efforts of Reneau she was unable to get a finish.
Beth Correia and Marion Reneau - Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Flyweight Fight: #3 Jussier Formiga vs #8 Ray Borg Round 1: Fast paced start to the fight with both fighters landing punches and kicks. Borg landed a strong combination and followed it up with a knee to the body in the clinch, but they mostly both pot shotted from outside.
There was a short break for a groin shot by Formiga and then some time spent in the clinch before they went back to striking. Things were a bit more aggressive but still very close. Both landed hard body kicks and landed in exchanges on the inside. Formiga landed a spinning backfist right at the end of the round.
Round 2: Borg shot for a takedown early but Formiga was able to stuff it and back him up against the fence momentarily but Borg landed a good right hand on the break.
Borg closed the distance with a right hand and used it to disguise a takedown attempt. He got Formiga up for a slam but was unable to finish the job as Formiga showed incredible balance to stay up and and get to the fence. Borg continued to try get the takedown but they were eventually separated by the referee,
It was back and forth on the feet with both man having some success but nobody really putting their stamp on things. They traded shots until to the end of the round due to Formiga defending one last takedown attempt from Borg. Round 3: Borg again starts with a takedown attempt, he was able to force Formiga to the fence but not get a takedown. It was Formiga in fact who got the takedown and ended up on top but Borg scrambled to safety but Formiga kept hold of him. When the dust settled Formiga was still in control and eventually moved to the back and locked in a body triangle for control.
Borg was defending the choke well and avoiding taking too much damage and he was able to spin and end up on top in Formiga's guard in what was a brilliant reversal. Borg then landed ground and pound of his own which opened up a cut on Formiga.
Formiga rolled to try escape but ended up with Borg on his back. He rolled over into mount and was able to recover half guard before the end of the round.
Ray Borg def. Jussier Formiga via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight Fight: #5 Edson Barboza vs #9 Beneil Dariush
Round 1: They exchange punches early. Barboza with fast straight combinations and Dariush throwing the harder shots. Though Barboza is known as a kicker he is not throwing many here due to the threat of a takedown and Dariush is the one landing more kicks.
Dariush putting effective pressure on Barboza, smothering him and landing shots inside.He is not allowing Barboza time to settle and set himself.
Dariush the far more active and aggressive of the two here as he pursues Barboza around the cage. Barboza began to let go with a kick to the body and a smooth combination of punches just as the round ended.
Round 2: Lightening fast combination from Barboza to start the round but Dariush continues to pressure forward. Barboza landed two good body kicks in the opening minute of the round.
Barboza defended a takedown attempt easily but still Dariush pushes forward. Both men land but nothing significant and Barboza then landed a groin shot which forced a break in the action.
Out of nowhere Barboza landed a flying knee as Dariush exploded forward with a takedown attempt and it was a knockout shot, no follow up punches needed.
Co-Main Event Light Heavyweight Fight: #6 Shogun Rua vs #12 Gian Villante
Round 1: Two hard hitters here and they started slugging it out straight away. Shogun landed the first big shot, a right hand that dropped Villante for a moment.
Villante then landed a huge uppercut and left hook at had Shogun rocked and then they clinched for a moment against the cage. It was a well timed right hand from Shogun that was next to land.
Shogun has got the timing perfect on his right hand as a counter to Villante's left. Rua landed one right above the ear that dropped Villante and when he got up he was still on wobbly legs for a moment.
Shogun was going for the kill with every right hand now but he was unable to find the decisive shot in round one.
Round 2: Second round began with big shots being thrown by both sides again. Again Shogun was finding an opening for his right hand over the top and he landed a couple left hooks behind it.
Villante was pumping out his jab consistently but it wasn't landing regularly and even then, there wasn't enough pop behind it.
They both landed in a big exchange but it seems as though Villante's shot did the more damage as Shogun took a backwards step.It wasn't long until he was coming forward with overhand rights again though.
Another big right hand from Shogun was the best shot of the final portion of the round, as the action slowed quite a bit.
Round 3: Villante rushed forward and he ran into a perfect right hand from Shogun that staggered him. Shogun sensed the finish and he poured on a barrage of punches until Villante collapsed against the cage and the referee stepped in.
Shogun Rua def. Gian Villante via Knockout (punches) 0:59 Round 3
Main Event Middleweight Fight : #9 Vitor Belfort vs #10 Kelvin Gastelum Round 1: Cagey opening as expected as Gastelum does not want to rush in when Belfort is fresh. Belfort tries a spinning kick to the body. Belfort then explodes with a lightening fast combination of punches showing he still has that hand speed.
Gastelum tried to apply some pressure but was met with a left hand from Belfort. Good one two from Gastelum as the younger fighter begins to fins his range and he is now pumping his jab out regularly.
Gastelum catches Belfort with a big shot at the end of his combination and Belfort goes down. Belfort stopped the torrent of ground and pouns and got to his feet.
He fired back with his own combination after they stood up to show he is still in this. Two quick one twos from Gastelum put Belfort down again and Big John McCarthy has no choice but to step in and call the fight
Belfort looked good here compared to recent times, but he has no business being in there with elite fighters anymore. Gastelum looked great, he showed he has the power at middleweight and he is ready to test himself against the very top of the division now. Kelvin Gastelum def. Vitor Belfort via Knockout (punches) 3:52 Round 1