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UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs Gastelum - Mar 11


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Saturday 11th March the UFC is back in Fortaleza, Brazil with this...





Vitor Belfort vs Kelvin Gastelum

Shogun Rua vs Gian Villante

Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush

Jussier Formiga vs Ray Borg

Bethe Correia vs Marion Reneau

Alex Oliveira vs Tim Means



Francisco Trinaldo vs Kevin Lee

Sergio Moraes vs Davi Ramos

Rani Yahya vs Joe Soto

Josh Burkman vs Michel Prazeres



Rony Jason vs Jeremy Kennedy

Garreth McLellan vs Paulo Henrique Costa


I think that's a pretty strong card for FS1 actually. Shogun third from top shows it's a pretty deep card for a Fight Night. I like it.




Belfort vs Gastelum headlines. Bit of a weird one really. Belfort comes into this fight off back-to-back losses and he's lost 3 of his last 4. Gastelum comes in off back-to-back wins and just destroyed Tim Kennedy (HA!) in his last fight. So it's kind of an odd piece of matchmaking. I don't hate it though. Belfort is still a big name. And to be fair, Belfort's recent losses were to Mousasi, Jacare and Weidman. And Mousasi and Jacare are probably in the form of their careers right now. It's undeniable that Belfort has dropped off massively though, since USADA came in. And he's in with a young aggressive and dangerous opponent in Gastelum. If nothing else, this should be exciting however long it lasts. And the crowd will be lively, they fucking love a bit of Vitor over there.




Barboza vs Dariush is a fight that'll probably go under a lot of radars but it's a good one. Barboza is awesome, everyone agrees on that. Arguably the best kicker in the game. But Dariush is no joke himself. He's got excellent grappling and he's tough as fuck. BJJ black belt and he's beaten the likes of Michael Johnson and Jim Miller. Like I said, no joke. Risky fight for Barboza really. He's coming off two big wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. Easily the two biggest victories of his career to date. Dariush is a step down in terms of name recognition from those two, but he's probably just as difficult a fight at this stage.




Shogun vs Villante is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. Of course it is. It's Shogun! One of my two favourite MMA fighters ever and one of the main reasons I got into MMA in 2005, when Shogun was terrorising the field in the Pride GP. Entered as an underdog prospect, left as the king. He's far from that now, obviously. He's been in way too many wars and suffered way too many injuries and it's all taken a toll. But he's coming off back-to-back wins for the first time in years. They were close decisions over Corey Anderson and Little Nog but wins are wins.


I like Villante. He's a Serra-Longo guy, likeable, usually in entertaining fights. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you track down his last fight against Saparbek Safarov from December. Wasn't pretty but it was a stupidly fun wild brawl.


This should be a good fight. Both guys' default mode is to go balls out for the KO, defence and cardio takes a back seat. Can't see how this fails to deliver. Like I said, I like Villante but I'm hoping Shogun gets the feel good KO win here. Ideally he'd then retire but that's not happening.




Oliveira vs Means is a rematch from UFC 207 after the fight was stopped on a No Contest due to illegal knees. I like that they've rescheduled it straight away. Let's get it settled. Should be a decent fight as well. I hope Means batters him, to be honest. I know it was Means who landed the dodgy knees last time but I really soured on Oliveira in the Will Brooks fight, where Oliveira came in way heavy at the weigh ins then acted like a dick after he won the fight.




Trinaldo vs Lee is another fight where my allegiance is firmly in one corner. I like Trinaldo and Kevin Lee seems a bit of a cock. Trinaldo has been a formidable force in the gatekeeper role, he's on a nice run of wins and over some solid names like Paul Felder and Ross Pearson. I hope he fucks Lee up.




Formiga vs Borg will probably be a frantic and fast paced enjoyable fight. Borg looked good in his last fight, an impressive decision win over Louis Smolka. And Formiga was getting close to a title shot before he dropped a split decision to Henry Cejudo. In a division like flyweight where the champ has almost completely run out of challengers, it's all up for grabs. A standout performance here could potentially bag one of these guys the title shot.


Rest of the card...


Josh Burkman is usually good for a wild scrap.


• I like watching Rony Jason fight. Very rarely a dull moment with him.


Correia vs Reneau could wind up being a little bit of a sleeper on the prelims, I reckon. Correia has her faults but she's always aggressive. And Reneau matches up pretty well with her IMO. Similar with Yahya vs Soto as well actually.


• And Pepey on any card is always welcome! Absolutely love watching the little nutter. Nobody really talks about him because he's always buried on the undercards of Brazilian Fight Nights but for me he's one of the most exciting fighters on the roster. Like when Bruce Leroy couldn't get off the prelims for years despite being a joy to watch. Pepey is ace.


A very very solid looking card there, I think. I'm actually looking forward to it more than I did 208.

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This is next week. Anyone arsed yet? I think this is a really good looking Fight Night myself. Pretty good quality throughout the card, you've got a couple of legends on there in Belfort and Shogun, Gastelum at 185 where I think he's actually better despite not really being quite big enough for the weight, Barboza who's always exciting. I think the Brazilian crowds often add to my enjoyment of the shows there as well.


Gone with Gastelum to TKO Belfort, Barboza to outpoint Dariush and Shogun to KO Villante. Haven't got a clue with Shogun vs Villante so I've just gone with what I hope happens.

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I'm interested in every fight on that main card. Trinaldo vs. Lee and Yahya vs. Soto are ones to keep an eye on too. It might lack that one big name, but for pure consistency it might be the best card UFC's put together so far in 2017. Now let's hope I haven't jinxed it and we don't get a bunch of pull outs on weigh-in day.


Gotta think Gastelum starches Belfort. Sure, Vitor's only been losing to elite fighters. but he's looked terrible in doing so. He looked worse against Weidman than Mark Munoz did. He looked worse against Jacare than Chris Camozzi did. He's shot. Meanwhile, Kelvin is a vicious fucker when he doesn't need to be as concerned with the weight cut.


I'm always Team Shogun, and I hope Barboza comes out victorious too. Hoping that his recent run is him putting all the pieces together after first showing that amazing potential 5 years ago.

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Is Villante the same guy that Mauro Ranallo used to wave his knickers over in Strikeforce? I know Villante has been in the UFC for 4 years, but he hasn't cropped up on my radar much lately. When I hear his name, the first thing I think of is Ranallo (or Millhouse if you like)


Anyway, I think Gastelum wins quite handily. He looked great against Kennedy. Fighting in his home country will probably help Belfort a little, but ultimately I think he's in the twilight of his career. I don't want to say he's a shot fighter - as he's proven me wrong at least 2 times before - but I don't expect him to be headlining shows for much longer. 

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Villante was in Strikeforce but I can't recall whether or not Mauro was getting all moist over him. He might've been, I've just blocked out a lot of Mauro's commentary in my memory. Mama Mia!


Villante did have a fantastic brawl against some weird looking fucker called Saparbek Safarov in his most recent fight in December. I know I've mentioned it in the OP but I'm recommending it again. It's well worth tracking down, trust me. Apart from that, he hasn't had an overly memorable UFC run but he's usually in fun fights. The two things that I think of first when I hear Villante's name are his brutal KO win over Anthony Perosh and his brutal KO loss to Tom Lawlor. Kind of sums him up. He's a live by the sword, die by the sword type.


And again, watch the Safarov fight if you haven't seen it!


Edit- here's Villante vs Safarov...



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Yeh, Villante's usually good value. Good fight for Shogun at this stage too.


This card has completely gone over my head, it's been a hectic week. I'll still likely check out the main card tomorrow. I can't see anything other than Gastelum putting a bit of a beating on Vitor at this stage.

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Yeah, Vitor just seems done to me. And Gastelum is a handful for a lot of guys. I think he fights better at 185 as well. Just see Belfort wilting as the fight goes on and getting stopped around the 2nd/3rd. You never know, I think Vitor's still dangerous early but even the old Belfort Blitz doesn't seem to last as long as it used to so guys seem to have a better chance of weathering it. I think if Gastelum gets past round one, it's his fight to lose.

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Shogun's fight was very enjoyable. It wasn't vintage Shogun, but given the stage of his career, it was a reasonable enough performance. Despite his win streak, the UFC should continue to match him with either journeymen or other over the hill fighters. I think the Belfort fight demonstrated what would happen if Shogun was paired with a top-echelon fighter Light Heavyweight in 2017. Very few want to see Shogun get his head caved in. 


Kelvin predictably did the business. He's a cracking little prospect at 185lbs. However, he's entering an absolute shark tank of a division, where consistent success is nigh impossible. I really wish 205lbs were producing prospects like him. That division needs fresh faces a lot more. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what Kelvin does next. 

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Every time they changed camera angles, Shogun & Villante looked the same and I had to adjust to who is who - fucking Reebok.


Main event was a great little scrap - Vitor always has me on edge - could strike at any moment. Kelvin did well here.

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Barboza's knockout! Fuck me that looked brutal! That's 3 big wins on the bounce for him now (Pettis, Melendez and now Dariush) and you can't imagine him being a million miles away from a title shot. If Khabib's out with Ramadam for a while then I'd be all in on a rematch between himself and Ferguson to determine who gets a crack at Conor.


Another win for Shogun! Yeah, it's nowhere near the level of opposition he was once smacking around but again, three solid wins in a row. Hopefully, he'll be able to understand his limitations at this point of his career and hover around this level of competition for a while. He's fine against the Corey Anderson's and Gian Villante's of his division, but against anyone top level he's going to be mauled.


And Gastelum was once again hugely impressive at Middleweight. Yeah, he's a small guy for the division but how much does that matter when you're undefeated and coming off of two KO victories against top ranked fighters? He looked incredibly sharp last night. I never really took Gastelum as a ​really ​hard hitter but he sure has power in his hands. Very clever boy as well, calling out Anderson. Anderson's still a big name even at this point in his career, and those Brazilian fans will be all over the idea of seeing him fight in Brazil. Winnable fight for Kelvin as well.

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Fun show, I felt.


As discussed, the main event and co-main were good scarps with pleasing outcomes. Dad bod Belfort has only won one fight since getting off his Bane juice, and that win was against past it Hendo; clearly isn't for this level if he's not cheating. Although there is some weird karma involved seeing him get exposed and battered like this.

Shogun looked good, I thought. He ate some decent shots and the pop in his hands haven't left him. I doubt it will happen, but LW badly needs him to have a mini resurgence.


The Barboza knee may very well be KO of the year, when all is said and done. So sudden and perfectly placed.

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Belfort says his next fight will be his last. For the best.


Yeah, add me to the list of people glad to hear this. Whilst he isn't completely shot yet (his last 4 losses have all been to elite guys in Weidman, Jacare, Mousasi and Gastelum) he is clearly regressing and it's actually quite nice to hear a fighter seemingly accept the sport has passed them by. Here's hoping the UFC give him a winnable sendoff in Rio, the least he deserves.

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