I’ll say one thing about Vitor Belfort - he went out on his shield. Kelvin Gastelum dropped him with a monstrous straight left and followed it up with some hard ground and pound in the UFC Fight Night Fortaleza headliner, but Belfort managed to get up and fire back. That’s not the Vitor we’ve seen in the last few fights, so it was commendable.
You know, until Gastelum totally crumpled him with another straight left and finished him.
That’s another scalp for Gastelum at middleweight, and while I still feel he’s too small for the division, defeating a legend (even a faded one) is very influential in the eyes of fans. I really liked his boxing tonight too - I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of his striking before, but he looked very crisp tonight. And he speaks Portuguese! I didn’t see that one coming at all.
- I wrote the Barboza one below before this. I'm not going to lie to you folks, I ran around the house with glee after Shogun Rua knocked out Gian Villante. Shogun is my all-time favorite fighter other than Takanori Gomi and Tatsuya Kawajiri, and that was so amazing to watch. Villante did not fight smart and he paid for it by having to to do the stanky leg before he got finished. Pride Never Die!
- Edson Barboza did it again. The guy already has a long list of crazy KOs, and he added to it with a picture-perfect knee that knocked Beneil Dariush stiff. Not much makes me mark out in MMA anymore, but I was yelling colorful metaphors for a solid 30 seconds after that. The sound of it on the replay was unbelievable.
- We only got some of it of it in the fight, but Jussier Formiga and Ray Borg are both incredible on the ground. How in the world did Borg reverse position inside of a body triangle? That was absurd. That fight was really fun, and it allowed me to make a lot of Borg Star Trek jokes, which is a good thing. Ray Borg is for real, and he could maybe get the winner of the Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis fight.
- Bethe Correia and Marion Reneau scrapped it out for the full three rounds, with lots of momentum swings. Reneau hurt Corriea and had her tied up for the entire third round though, easily earning the 10-8. I personally had Reneau taking the first round as well, but two judges felt Correia won the first two rounds and the bout went to an unsatisfying draw. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to an immediate rematch.
- In the main card opener, Tim Means and Alex Oliveira settled their differences after feuding for a while following their strange first fight. In this one though, Cowboy shined. He threw Means around in the first round a bit, then decided to really grapple and quickly finished Means in the second. I'm not sure he'll be a contender at 170, but he should be in some fun scraps at least.
- Kevin Lee vs. Francisco Trinaldo was a hell of a fight. Trinaldo almost finished Lee in the first round twice with strikes, but Lee persevered and landed a monster head kick early in the second. He followed it up with some gnarly grappling and made the Brazilian tap. Afterward, he called out Khabib Nurmagomedov. Sure. Okay.
- Why do they do their 'Move of the Fight' thing, and then show three moves? They can't all be the Move of the Fight. Pick one!
- There isn't much to say about Sergio Moraes and Davi Ramos, really. It was a slow striking battle between grapplers. Moraes may have the most uninspiring undefeated streak in the UFC.
- Joe Soto and Rani Yahya put on a really fun and interesting scrap. Soto was bleeding buckets from a clash of heads, but it didn't seem to have any effect on him. Yahya looked so gassed out after the second that he had to be carried to his corner, but he made it through the fight. Nice performance by Soto overall though. And he retains his lineal TUF China and TUF Brazil 1 championships!
- Michel Prazeres finally finished someone! Huzzah! The man with exactly one TKO win in 23 fights coming in lit up Josh Burkman with his hands right away, nearly ending the fight on the ground with GnP. That didn't work though, so he just submitted him with a sweet north-south choke instead. Very, very good fight for him.
- Burkman then decided to leave his gloves in the cage to signal retirement...but changed his mind. As I said on Twitter, you know you're in a slump if you can't even retire right.
- Jeremy Kennedy gutted out a nice decision win over Rony Jason in the Fight Pass "featured" bout. My favorite part of the fight was when Kennedy landed a head kick, which caused Jason to shake his head like it didn't hurt. So what did Kennedy do? Immediately kick him in the balls. Yeah, that one hurt.
- Paulo Borrachinha beat the hell out of Garreth McLellan in the curtain jerker. Massive shot after massive shot led to a finish in just 77 seconds. Impressive debut.