The UFC is returning to Brazil with a loaded card featuring some of the best fighters that the country has to offer. UFC Fight Night 106 will be headlined by a middleweight division bout between Vitor Belfort and Kelvin Gastelum. Also, Mauricio Rua faces Gian Villante and a lightweight division rematch is set to kick off the main card.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Vitor Belfort (25-13-0) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (13-2-0)
Belfort has only won just one of his last four fights, defeating Dan Henderson while suffering defeats to Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi. Gastelum is currently undefeated at middleweight, defeating both Nate Marquardt and Tim Kennedy. Belfort will be competing in Brazil for the first time in nearly a year, with that last appearance being a loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC 198. Gastelum won the UFC Ultimate Fighter 17 almost four years ago, defeating Uriah Hall in the final of the reality show.
Prediction: Belfort still has incredible power with his striking game, but Gastelum quickly grounds him upon getting a first round TKO finish.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Mauricio Rua (24-10-0) vs. Gian Villante (15-7-0)
Rua will be entering the fight on a two fight winning streak, with those wins coming over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Corey Anderson. Villante has won three of his last five in the UFC, with the most notable win coming over Corey Anderson at UFC On Fox 15. Rua will be fighting for the fifth straight time in Brazil, having a record of 2-2-0 in those last four fights. Villante will be returning to Brazil for the first time in three years, his last appearance in the country came at UFC Fight Night 38.
Prediction: Villante has the boxing to pick apart Rua if he wants to, but Rua will get him involved in a slug fest before scoring a late first round knockout victory.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Edson Barboza (18-4-0) vs. Beneil Dariush (14-2-0)
Barboza will enter the fight riding a two fight winning streak, with those wins coming over former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez. Dariush will also be entering the fight on a two fight winning streak, with his wins coming over James Vick and Rashid Magomedov. Barboza has earned a total of three victories in his career by TKO via leg kicks, with two of them coming in the UFC. Dariush’s two losses as a pro both came in the UFC, with those losses coming to Ramsey Nijem and Michael Chiesa.
Prediction: Dariush will want to get the fight to the ground as quickly as possible, but Barboza assaults him with leg kicks on route to a decision victory.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Jussier Formiga (19-4-0) vs. Ray Borg (10-2-0)
Formiga has won four of his last five fights under the UFC banner, those wins came over Scott Jorgensen, Zach Makovsky, Wilson Reis and Dustin Ortiz. Borg has also won four of his last fights in the UFC and this will be his first UFC fight to take place in Brazil. Formiga has yet to actually compete on a UFC pay-per-view card as all of his UFC fights to this point have taken place on “Fight Night” cards. Borg has seen four of his six fights in the UFC go the distance, he has a record of 2-2-0 in those four fights.
Prediction: Borg has the better wrestling game and Formiga has the better submission game, Formiga threatens Borg with enough submission attempts to get a close decision win.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division Fight
Bethe Correia (10-2-0) vs. Marion Reneau (7-3-0)
Correia has won just one of her last three fights, with that win coming over Jessica Eye, while the losses came to Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington. Reneau has also won just one of her last three fights and this will be the first time she has competed in Brazil. Correia has previously challenged for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title, losing to then champion Ronda Rousey at UFC 190. Two of the three wins Reneau has earned in the UFC have come over fighters who are no longer in the promotion, those fighters are Alexis Dufresne and Milana Dudieva.
Prediction: Correia has a solid boxing game with a good clinch game to back it up, Correia earns a decision here.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Alex Oliveira (15-4-1-2NC) vs. Tim Means (26-7-1-1NC)
Oliveira will be competing for the first time since a no contest with Means at UFC 207, the no contest was issued after Means caught Oliveira with an illegal knee strike and he couldn’t continue. Means has won two of his last three under the UFC banner, with those wins coming over John Howard and Sabah Homasi. Oliveira hasn’t competed in Brazil in well over a year now, his last fight in the country took place at UFC Fight Night 77. The no contest against Oliveira was the first no contest of Means career, a career that has spanned 35 total fights.
Prediction: Means picks apart Oliveira with his strike until Oliveira gets him to the ground, then submits Means late in the third round.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Kevin Lee over Francisco Trinaldo
Rani Yahya over Joe Soto
Sergio Moraes over Davi Ramos
Michel Prazeres over Josh Burkman
Rony Jason over Jason Kennedy
Garreth McClellan over Paulo Borrachinha