We all need to pour one out for whoever was unfortunate enough to be assigned the task of dismantling the octagon ring and mat after UFC Fight Night 106. It was hot and humid inside the arena in Fortaleza, Brazil leaving the mat bloody and sweaty. A 6 fight main card provided a lot of action for the excited and loud Brazilian crowd.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Middleweight – Paulo Henrique Costa def. Garreth McLellan – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 1:17)
Paulo Henrique Costa (or Borrachincha, I don’t understand the naming conventions of Brazilians) is a massive shredded middleweight. It didn’t take him long to finish Garreth McLellan and bask in the loud praise of the Brazilian crowd.
Costa dropped McLellan with a left and finished him off with hammer fists.
Featherweight – Jeremy Kennedy def. Rony Jason – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Jeremy Kennedy quieted the crowd with a unanimous decision win over Rony Jason. I don’t know much about either fighter but when I saw Jason make his walk in the unoriginal Jason Voorhees mask, I immediately began rooting for Kennedy. We get it, your name is Jason, his name is Jason, you can do better than that.
Kennedy is a tall featherweight standing at 5′ 11″ which is 2 inches taller than Gastelum who was a part of the main event who fought 40 pounds heavier. I also liked Kennedy’s tattoo on his rib cage that has 9 tally marks, representing the amount of MMA wins he has on his record.
The fight started with a body kick from Kennedy and a right hook from Jason. A flying knee connected for Jason which dropped Kennedy to the mat. Kennedy recovered and got back to his feet in the clinch. From here Kennedy brought Jason to the ground 3 times and on the final trip to the ground in the round, he landed some strong ground and pound.
Jason landed a left which Kennedy countered in the second round. Jason dropped Kennedy again with another flying knee and rained down hammer fists on the ground. Kennedy survived the onslaught and slowly recovered while Jason controlled the ground. The ref stood the fighters up and there was a time stoppage with just a few seconds left in the round for a nut shot on Jason. This late round time stoppage led into the break before the third round allowing both fighters to rest up and come out fresh in the third round.
Jason put his hands behind his back to taunt Kennedy in the third round. Kennedy scored (by my count) 4 more takedowns in the final round. Kennedy landed effective ground and pound while Jason attempted a gogoplata submission. There was a lot of going down and standing up in the third round which was all initiated by Kennedy winning him the round and the fight.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Lightweight – Michel Prazeres def. Josh Burkman – Submission north-south choke – (RD 1 – 1:41)
Prazeres finished the bearded Burkman in just under 2 minutes. Burkman had a big height and reach advantage but his size didn’t prevent him from getting rocked early. Prazeres unloaded everything he had early when he saw Burkman was hurt. He landed a lot of ground and pound using up a lot of energy but Burkman was able to survive. Prazeres brought the weakened Burkman to the ground and choked him out with a north-south coke.
There was talk of Burkman retiring after the fight, but later on Burkman stated he didn’t retire.
Bantamweight – Joe Soto def. Rani Yahya – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Soto dropped Yahya with a hard right in the first round and celebrated like he earned a first round knockout. The punch was hard but Yahya’s fall was aided by a slip and he got back up right away making Soto’s celebration look stupid. The fighters spent the rest of the first round trading strikes .Yahya landed a knee and kicks to the body and whiffed on a takedown. Soto showed good head movement before eating a combo and being brought to the ground by Yahya. Soto attempted a guillotine before the round ended.
The second round started with an inadvertent head-butt which opened a huge wound on the head of Soto. The ref was indecisive and took a long time to separate the fighters to bring in the doctor to look at Soto’s gaping wound. The doctor allowed Soto to keep fighting. Soto landed a right and defended multiple takedown attempts from Yahya. The blood gushed from Soto’s eye and covered both fighters and the mat. Yahya eventually got Soto to the ground and Soto attempted a north-south choke. The fighters got back to their feet where Yahya whiffed on more takedown attempts. The fight went to the ground and Soto attempted a choke but ran out of time.
Yahya was so tired at the end of the second round he needed to be carried to his corner by his team. The fight went back to the ground in the third round where Soto controlled the fight. Soto bleed all over the exhausted Yahya as both looked for an opportunity to scramble or submit. The fighters got back to their feet where Yahya landed a combo. Soto scored a takedown towards the end of the fight where they remained until the final bell.
Welterweight – Sergio Moraes def. Davi Ramos – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The bout between Moraes and Ramos was the worst fight of the night. Moraes had a 6 inch reach advantage and Ramos took the fight on short notice and normally fights at lightweight. The fighters traded strikes and Ramos missed on a double knee. Ramos landed an uppercut and absorbed a body kick from Moraes.
In the second round Ramos landed a leg kick and a right hand. Moraes kept his distance and ate a huge body shot from Ramos that clearly hurt him. Moraes responded with landing a left hook and a combo. Moraes sprawled out to defend a takedown attempt from Ramos.
The third round was more of the same, both fighters kept their distance and fought a slow pace. Not a lot happened in this fight, it was clear Moraes played it safe and didn’t want to give Ramos the punchers chance of earning the upset victory.
Lightweight – Kevin Lee def. Francisco Trinaldo – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 3:12)
Trinaldo defended several takedown attempts from Lee early in the first round. Lee did eventually score a takedown. The fighters got to their feet in the clinch where Trinaldo attempted a ninja choke. The fighters separated and Trinaldo clipped Lee with a left. The fighters clinched back up and Trinaldo landed an elbow in the break. Trinaldo then hurt Lee with a body shot. They went back to the ground and got back to their feet and Lee held out his arms taunting Trinaldo.
In the second round Lee landed a jab and whiffed on a takedown attempt. Lee clipped Trinaldo with a high kick and took him to the ground. Lee mounted Trinaldo, maneuvered to his back and got under his chin for the rear-naked choke.
Main Card (FS1)
Welterweight – Alex Oliveira def. Tim Means – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 2:38)
Alex Oliveira and Tim Means fought again after their previous fight was stopped after Means landed an illegal knee. Oliveira came out strong landing a body kick and scoring a takedown. Means attempted an arm bar submission and defended himself well on the ground while on his back. As the fighters got back to their feet, Oliveira connected with strikes and scored a second takedown. This happened three more times giving Oliveira 5 takedowns total in the first round, but was unable to keep Means on the mat. On the 5th trip to the ground Means grinded his elbow on the face of Oliveira while Oliveira got away with several illegal toe grabs on the fence. After the first round bell Oliveira exposed his true colors by throwing a kick which pissed Big John off. Big John scolded the douche bad and when Oliveira tried to ignore him, Big John grabbed his chin and forced him to listen to his warning.
In the second round Means clinched up with Oliveira after going under a wheel kick. Oliveira looked for a guillotine choke and brought Means to the ground again. He took the back of Means and both fighters got back to their feet. Oliveira took him down again while on his back, got both hooks in, got his arms under his chin and got the rear-naked choke.
Women’s Bantamweight – Bethe Correia vs. Marion Reneau – Draw majority – (27-29, 28-28, 28-28)
It’s not often that you see a majority draw like the one between Bethe Correia and Marion Reneau. The two fighters traded kicks and strikes early in the first round before going to the clinch multiple times. In the clinch Reneau landed knees and Correia threw some foot stomps. The two fighters traded strikes again and Correia scored a takedown at the end of the first round.
Correia came out strong in the second round landing a left, a right, counter left, overhand right, a right uppercut, and a leg kick. After breaking out of a clinch, she then landed a body head shot combo followed up by another body punch. Reneau landed a front kick and an upper cut of her own before being brought to the ground by Correia. While on the ground Reneau attempted a triangle that Correia slipped out of leaving the fighters to trade ground and pound until the bell.
Correia dropped Reneau with a head kick in the third round. To recover, Reneau got to her feet quickly and charged forward throwing a flurry of strikes to clear the fog. The fighters go to the ground which is where they remained until the final bell. Reneau controlled the rest of the round landing hard ground and pound and staying in the power position while Correia attempted several scrambles. Correia was clearly exhausted but she never gave up, scrambling and throwing defensive strikes. Reneau took the back of Correia and got both hooks in but was unable to get the rear-naked choke. This ground exchange was fun to watch as Reneau was relentless in trying to finish Correia winning the round, but Correia never gave up and did everything she could to not get finished in her home country.
Flyweight – Ray Borg def. Jussier Formiga – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
In my 26 years of living on a water filled rock known as Earth, I have learned there are only two guarantees in life; 1). Death and 2). Male flyweight fights will end in a decision. The match between Ray Borg and Jussier Formiga was no exception to the second guarantee.
The two fighters butted heads early in the first round and went into the clinch. They traded knees in the clinch and after breaking Borg landed a heavy uppercut. Formiga landed a body blow and a leg kick before stopping the fight with a direct nut shot on Borg. The fighters then went back to the clinch where they traded strikes before separating. Borg landed another upper cut and Formiga landed a body kick. They both exchanged in a big flurry to end the first round but the strikes didn’t appear to be affecting either fighter.
In the second round the fighters clinched up and separated before Borg landed another uppercut. Borg then ate a knee and partially landed a flying knee. Formiga defending the takedown well but gave up his back in the clinch. This clinch lasted for what felt like eons and the ref separated them. Borg defended a takedown attempt and absorbed a leg kick. Borg landed several hooks and was hurt after absorbing a power leg kick from Formiga. Borg responded with a spinning back fist and a failed takedown attempt.
The third round saw another inactive flyweight clinch and a successful takedown by Formiga. The technical ground fighting that then took place was a marvel to watch as both fighters scrambled and moved so fast looking for an opening. Formiga took the back of Borg (with the aid of a fence grab) but Borg somehow wiggled out and got into the power position. Borg landed brutal ground and pound with sharp elbows that opened up the face of Formiga. Borg then took the back of Formiga, both fighters scrambled around, and Borg attempted a Japanese neck tie in the final seconds. This ground fighting was of the best I have seen.
Lightweight – Edson Barboza def. Beneil Dariush – KO flying knee – (RD 2 – 3:35)
There are a few fighters that when I see fight, my excitement of watching a combat sport turns to fear, a fear for the safety of the other fighter. One of those fighters is Edson Barboza. The dude has shot guns for legs and could probably kick the head off from a torso of another fighter. I was legitimately scared for Beneil Dariush after I saw/heard those kicks.
The two fighters traded quick strikes to start the first round and Dariush connected on some body kicks. Dariush was the more aggressive fighter early landing leg kicks and controlling the center of the octagon. Barboza landed an uppercut and ate another body kick from Dariush. Barboza ate a hook and landed a couple body kicks before the first round ended.
More of the same happened in the second round, two great lightweight fighters wearing each other down with powerful kicks and strikes. Both were fast and active putting on a show up until Dariush took an uppercut to his nuts (thank god it wasn’t a kick). After the time stoppage Barboza counters Dariush with a knee that landed directly to the head of Dariush. If Barboza’s body was invisible during this brutal knock out, it would look like Dariush was shot in the head and died. He was completely out cold. Barboza is a fucking scary fighter.
Light Heavyweight – Shogun Rua def. Gian Villante – TKO punches – (RD 3 – 0:59)
The legend Shogun Rua faced off against former college football linebacker Gian Villante. Rua is clearly the better and more experienced fighter but I was excited for this match as Villante is as powerful as they come and had a good punchers chance at the upset.
The first two rounds of this fight was amazing to watch as at any second either fighters could be KO’d. Jon Anik said it best stating this is one of those fights where you are just waiting for the inevitable knockout blow. In the first round Rua caught a kick and clipped Villante with a combo. Villante connected with an uppercut of his own followed up by a hard left hook. Rua then landed two counter rights learning quickly that Villante left his face exposed when throwing strikes. Rua dropped Villante who quickly got back to his feet.
Rua landed several leg kicks in the second round and a massive bruise had already formed on the leg of Villante. Rua ate a left and landed counter strikes on a leg kick from Villante. Rua landed an overhand punch and Villante connected with a hard left. The coaches in Villante’s corner could be heard shouting their displeasure at the outmatched Villante. Rua dropped Villante again with an overhand right (Villante also lost his footing).
Villante’s coaches lectured him in between rounds, telling him to throw more kicks and to faint his punches. In the third round Rua landed a counter left and an uppercut that took away the legs from Villante. Rua closed in on the wobbly Villante and unloaded on him against the cage landing a right hook, an uppercut, and several body shots to get the TKO.
Middleweight – Kelvin Gastelum def. Vitor Belfort – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 3:52)
I have only been watching the UFC for a little over a year now. In that year there are two fighters that stand out in my mind that are considered to be great MMA veterans who I have only seen be knocked out. Those two fighters are Matt Brown and Vitor Belfort. That is unfair as both of those dudes have a long resume of wins, but I knew going into this fight Belfort was going to lose. Gastelum is much younger, faster, and durable. Belfort still has a lot of skill in his old age and he showed that by connecting with a unique array of fast strikes (kicks, double knee, punches) but his chin couldn’t hang with the much younger fighters.
Gastelum dropped Belfort with two rights and a hard left. He went for the TKO (if Belfort wasn’t a legend fighting in his home country, the TKO probably would have been called) but Belfort survived and got back to his feet. The bleeding Belfort used his speed to throw a few strikes, but Gastelum charged forward and dropped him a second time and finished him off with punches.
UFC Fight Night 107 is this Saturday, March 18th 2017 in London, England.