Gastelum impresses, Belfort nears retirement, and Barboza throws the counter flying knee of the decade for the UFN 106 tweetdown.
UFN 106 in Brazil was designed to be good messy fun, and sure enough, the event made good on its promise of entertaining pugilism.
Kelvin Gastelum made tactically violent work of Vitor Belfort, Edson Barboza executed a sniper rifle of a flying knee, and a host of other fun things happened to make the night memorable. In other words, the better this card was, the less we get to think about the upcoming UFN 107.
Kelvin Gastelum wants Anderson Silva in Rio later this year. Nice nod to his friend Chael Sonnen referencing a ‘legends ass kicking tour’.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) March 12, 2017
I don’t know that I expected Gastelum to blitzkreig Belfort like that, but I do know that Kelvin is at his best when he’s pumping an elite jab, and letting his hands go while keeping the Domino’s cheetos pizzas down.
He called out Anderson Silva, which I think is great thematically. He can notch a few legends on his victory utility belt to setup a nice asterisk on his ledger. Unfortunately those tallies have brain cells, and I’m not all that interested in watching Gastelum deprive Anderson of what he’s got left. Granted, the theoretical bout isn’t a blow out on paper. Silva is still dangerous even at half-brilliance. And stylistically it’s not the greatest fight for Kelvin on the feet. But I suspect it’d end just like it did for Silva in Never Surrender.
Yes, I was even kind enough to review that cat piss of a film for you guys. Anyway, good on Gastelum.
Belfort got knocked out 3 separate times there. Gastelum kept punching him back into consciousness with pugilistic CPR. #UFCBrazil
— Iain Kidd (@iainkidd) March 12, 2017
Vitor Belfort has become something of a punchline in recent years. Though nominally respected for his talents, MMA fans and even media have never had trouble being hyper-critical of him. It was warranted, but to a degree that I don’t know was proportional to his collective legacy. Dan Henderson got a pass on the whole TRT thing only because he played up the “aww shucks, how do you plug in this dadgum X-Box controller grandkids?!” vibe. Vitor went full ham. So I get it. What I don’t get is how we’ve come to marginalize a legend who has been active for over 20 years. Whether in victory, defeat, shame, or drama, Belfort has kept fan interest tethered to a sport he’s helped build from the ground up. And yes, I consider UFC 37.5 (when Joe Rogan first debuted on the mic) a precursor to UFC 40, which more or less ushered in the mainstream appeal and presence.
Dance Dance Contusion
Jesus Shogun had Villante salsa dancing there for a second. #UFCFortaleza
— Phlegm Fatale (@_RayneScar) March 12, 2017
Lawrence Tierney has some choice words for Mr. Orange during the climax of Reservoir Dogs. “You don’t need proof when you’ve got instinct!”
Shogun didn’t need outright skills, which he still has. He just needed his instincts. The finish at the end was a wonderful reminder of Shogun’s kill switch: with Gian Villante hurt, Shogun pounced on him with body shots, uppercuts, and an array of five knuckle meat soothers that turned Gian into filet mignon.
Phil and I more or less were on point: Villante fights too linear in non-versatile ways to threaten someone like Shogun, who was born amidst salk and smoke. My only issue is whether or not this sets up Shogun for a high profile fight against a prospect. Shogun isn’t a shot fighter by any stretch, but he is a fighter with an objective cap set on his durability and talents.
Here’s a gif of what Edson Barboza just did if you missed it #UFCFortaleza: pic.twitter.com/vHBHqWwixD
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) March 12, 2017
Barboza was the more singularly brilliant fighter in an otherwise flawless performance by Beneil Dariush. Dariush played the bout to perfection early on: not giving Edson any quarter, pressuring him with kicks, punches, and actively managing the distance game that makes Barboza effective. Not only was out a brilliant technical performance by Dariush, it was a brilliant display of the lost art of scouting. Dariush was aware of Barboza’s tricks. All of them, except one.
You can’t blame Dariush. A counter flying knee chambered like a Simo Hayha cartridge, and Dariush was in the dirt dreaming of being wormfood. It’s a tough loss for Dariush, and the kind of fight in which both fighters would be wise to learn much from. Barboza was asking for a title shot. The first fight was actually pretty good, and I wouldn’t be averse to watching a rematch.
Borg is seriously explosive. He just straight up spazzed his way out of Formiga’s back mount, with body triangle.
— Connor Ruebusch (@BoxingBusch) March 12, 2017
Ray Borg and Jussier Formiga put on a technical display that was enjoyable, but also somewhat lacking. It was as if both fighters neutralized their strengths, and so the exchanges, which were brilliant, were defensive in nature. I’d like to see Borg against Pedro Munhoz just to clear up some MMAth before any talk of title-hunting.
UFC bantamweight champion @Cody_Nolove’s live reaction to @BetheCorreia celebrating her majority draw last night. #UFCFightNight106 pic.twitter.com/lFGJazlJVW
— Women’s MMA Rankings (@WMMARankings) March 12, 2017
I was informed by the rest of civilization that Bethe Correia’s postfight gesture is what has come to known as “twerking”. Apologies. I had always assumed there was grace, and rhythm to twerking, so perhaps I stand corrected.
I didn’t have a problem with the decision. On the contrary, it’s nice to know that MMA judges aren’t indirectly forced to stray from scoring a draw. Oh? I guess these things happen in MMA then. Now for some stray observations:
- Michael Bisping sure is a pugnacious dude isn’t he? The exchange with Yves Edwards, and the “fuck you” in front of his wife and kids while the camera panned just to take a picture of him in his natural element…he’s a fascinating figure in the sport, and I’m rooting for him to stick around, but still. Blood pressure, dude. Calm down.
- I was in and out for the evening, and I recall thinking the telecast was non-intrusive. I guess that makes it an improvement. Is Jay Glazer still around?