UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum will air on March 11, 2017, in Fortaleza, Brazil.
#9 VITOR “THE PHENOM” BELFORT (25-13-0) VS. #10 KELVIN GASTELUM (13-2-0)
This is a five round main event in the middleweight division. Belfort brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, judo and jiu-jitsu giving him speed mixed with knockout power. Gastelum brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling giving him striking power along with grappling control and cardio. As Belfort contains great speed with his striking this fight looks to be a bad matchup for Gastelum as he has never faced that kind of speed mixed with power before. But one cannot forget how tough of a fighter Gastelum is as he can take many powerful and remain standing, which I strongly believe will help aid him in this fight after Belfort has lost help from some of the performance enhancement drugs, due to the new strict rules by the USDA. The other thing that will play a big factor is the ground technique where Belfort lacks heavily in as he is mainly a standup fight where Gastelum relies on both his standing and ground game that could prove to be another great threat to Belfort like many other losses in his career. Unless he could somehow make quick work of Gastelum I really don’t see this fight falling in his favor and could very well be his last time competing inside the octagon. My prediction: Gastelum wins via TKO in Round 3.
#6 MAURICIO “SHOGUN” RUA (24-10-0) VS. #12 GIAN VILLANTE (15-7-0)
This is a three round co-main event in the light heavyweight division. Rua brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu that has made him a deadly striker giving him 19 wins via knockout leading and making him a former light heavyweight champion. Villante brings kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling making him an efficient striker with 10 wins via knockout. This is another fight that looks to be an all-out boxing style matchup, but the way I see it Rua’s striking is far deadlier and aggressive than Villante’s as Villante is not use to that type of striking and could prove to be far more than he can handle. Unless Villante can bring the fight to the ground and lay some ground-and-pound upon Rua I really don’t see this fight being as competitive as the rest of the bouts on the card. My prediction: Rua wins via knockout in Round 2.
#5 EDSON “JUNIOR” BARBOZA (18-4-0) VS. #9 BENEIL “BENNY” DARIUSH (14-2-0)
This is a three round fight in the lightweight division. Barboza brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, taekwondo and jiu-jitsu giving him knockout power and cardio. Dariush brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu giving him striking power and grappling control. Since both of these fighters contain identical standup game this fight looks to be an all-out boxing style matchup, which in that case I would give the advantage to Barboza with his striking power mixed with speed that I am not sure Dariush will be able to handle. Though Dariush has a great ground game that is a little better than Barboza’s and that could be a major weakness Dariush could expose by causing real damage to Barboza. But at the same time, he will have to overcome Barboza’s defense and cardio as Dariush looks to rely more on finishing fights as Barboza paces himself even when he knows he has a tough opponent that I believe might be a little too much for Dariush to fight around. My prediction: Barboza wins via TKO in Round 2.
#3 JUSSIER FORMIGA (19-4-0) VS. #8 RAY “THE TAZMEXICAN DEVIL” BORG (10-2-0)
This is a three round fight in the flyweight division. Formiga brings boxing, judo, and jiu-jitsu giving him grappling control and cardio. Borg brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling giving him grappling control and cardio. With both fighters containing their own style of striking and grappling the fight will be decided on who uses their techniques to the fullest, which I believe Formiga will come out on top with his judo and jiu-jitsu that might be too much for Borg to handle. Though if Borg can use his wrestling to try and out grapple Formiga then he looks to steal this fight, but Formiga will be placing pressure on him and I am not sure he will be able to get past it in order to try and take control. My prediction: Formiga wins via submission in Round 2.
#9 BETHE “PITBULL” CORREIA (10-2-0) VS. #13 MARION “THE BELIZEAN BRUISER” RENEAU (7-3-0)
This is a three round fight in the women’s bantamweight division. Correia brings kickboxing, Kung Fu, Sanda, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling giving her striking power with ground-and-pound and cardio. Reneau brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu giving her knockout power and grappling control. Since both of these amazing female athletes have great striking and grappling it will be interesting to see who is more aggressive with their techniques. In that case, Correia looks to be in the advantage seat with her striking power and ability to pressure her opponents making it seem like Reneau does not stand much of a chance. Though Reneau has great striking of her own and if Correia attacks her at full force I believe she could find a quick easy jab at her that could rock her and give Reneau her biggest win. My prediction: Reneau wins via knockout in Round 2.
ALEX “COWBOY” OLIVEIRA (16-3-1, 2 NC) VS. TIM “THE DIRTY BIRD” MEANS (26-7-1, 1 NC)
This is a three round fight in the welterweight division. Oliveira brings kickboxing, Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu giving him knockout power and grappling control. Means brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling giving him knockout power and grappling control. With both fighters containing identical techniques this fight looks to be a war, but since this fight will most likely contain ground game Means looks to be on another leave with his jiu-jitsu and wrestling that has made him efficient with is grappling and ground-and-pound that looks to be far more than Oliveira can handle. Unless Oliveira can manage to keep the fight standing and try to pressure Means by keeping him close to the cage this fight looks to be just another one-sided beat down. My prediction: Means wins via unanimous decision.