It was tough for fans in Brazil to watch Vitor Belfort get beaten, but he was a big underdog to Kevin Gastelum on the UFC odds board. And in this case, the better man won Saturday.
For the most part, fans at the Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste got what they wanted. Then the main event happened. At least it was over quickly; Kevin Gastelum overwhelmed Vitor Belfort at Saturday’s Fight Night 106 event in Fortaleza, Brazil, earning a first-round TKO victory and cashing in at –400 on the UFC odds board.
Belfort’s storied career has been on its last legs for a while. The 39-year-old made his Octagon debut 20 years ago at UFC 12, winning the Heavyweight tournament; this is Belfort’s third loss in a row, and afterward, he said he was ready to hang up the gloves – after one more fight at UFC 212 this June in Rio de Janeiro. Also, Belfort wants to start a Legends division for fighters of a certain age. Maybe not so ready to hang up the gloves.
It wasn’t long ago that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua looked like his fighting days were done. But Rua still has plenty left in the tank at age 35, judging by his third-round TKO of Gian Villante in the co-main event. Rua won the first two rounds as both fighters unloaded on each other; the former Light Heavyweight champ finished Villante off with an uppercut, claiming his third straight win in the Octagon.
Edson Barboza (–160) was also the right UFC pick in his Lightweight bout with Beneil Dariush, landing a flying knee in the second round and earning a tasty Performance of the Night bonus. The knee itself was lovely, but Dariush was winning this fight until he got punched in the yam bag. Seconds later, Dariush was out cold.
Woah! Barboza's speed isn't even fair. ??Fast! Hope Dariush is ok. My goodness! #UFCFortaleza— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) March 12, 2017
The Brazilian fighters on Saturday’s card had been trading wins and losses up to that point – except for the Women’s Bantamweight bout between Beth Correia and Marion Reneau. That was a heck of a fight, and with both women priced at –110, perhaps its fitting that the judges ruled it a majority draw. Hey, at least they got the announcement right this time.