UFC FIGHT NIGHT REPORT 3/11: Gastelum vs. Belfort, Villante vs. Rua, Dariush vs. Barborza, Borg vs. Formiga

By Matthew Ecochard, MMATorch contributor

MARCH 11, 2017

Hey folks, Matthew Ecochard filling in for tonight’s UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum report, taking place live from Fortaleza, Brazil. The majority of the card will be taking place on Fox Sports 1. The event kicks off at 7PM ET/4 PM PT on UFC Fight Pass with a pair of interesting bouts. The fighter’s MMATorch rankings are to the right of the fighter’s name

Check back then and refresh this page for updates on the fight outcomes throughout the evening. The fighter’s MMATorch Rankings are to the right of the fighter’s name. In the mean time, check out my predictions and full FIGHT CARD PREVIEW HERE.

Fight Pass Prelims (7 PM ET/4 PM PT)

Pre-fight hype packaged aired showing Jeremy Kennedy talking about being happy going into enemy territory tonight against Rony Jason. Jason said he is excited to show Kennedy the real Jason Voorhees.

Jon Anik and Brian Stann are on call tonight for the fights.

(1) Garreth McLellan vs. Paulo Borrachinha (Middleweight 185 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Borrachinha takes the center fast and is taunting McLellan. Borrachinha flurries and cuts McLellan. Punches and head kicks are being thrown aggressively and keeps on rocking McLellan. McLellan gets hurt by some hard headshots, goes down and covers up poorly and the ref steps in. That’s all she wrote and Borrachinha moves to 9-0.

Result: Paulo Borrachinha via TKO Round 1 (1:17)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Borrachinha looked so slick here, kept his forward pressure and just dominated his opponent. McLellan isn’t top competition, but no other UFC fighters have been able to do that to him that quickly. If Borrachinha continues to grow and looks that impressive next time out as well, he could a future Brazillian star. 

(2) Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Kennedy (Featherweight 145 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Nice left early from Kennedy and a high kick shortly followed after. Lots of feints and movement, but not a lot of thrown punches from Jason. Two minutes in Jason lands a couple of nices hooks and then a flying knee turned into a takedown for Jason. Kennedy works his way back up, tries to go for a takedown of his own, Jason defends it, but fails to stop the second takedown. Jason gets up and taken down once again. Jason works his way up, is held against the cage and driven to the mat another time. Ground and pound for Kennedy is starting to add up as the round comes to an end. Should be a 10-9 for Kennedy.

ROUND TWO: Jason hurts Kennedy with a left hand, then lands a brutal flying knee. Kennedy tries to pull guard, but Jason is landing hammerfists. Kennedy gets full guard to slow down the high pace offense of Jason. Not a whole lot happening as Kennedy is just holding onto Jason to prevent him from advancing to a dominate position. The ref stands them up with Jason not doing a whole lot and adjusts Jason’s shorts as his butt was sticking out. Kennedy lands a nasty kick to the grain to pause the action. The round definitely goes to Jason here.

ROUND THREE: Jason showboats with his arms behind his back and then gets taken down. The fighters get back up and Kennedy continues to pressure for the takedown against the cage before they separate. Kennedy shoots deep and quickly and gets another takedown right inside the center of the octagon. Hard elbows and some solid punches landed from Kennedy. Jason complains to the referee but to no avail and then sets up an omoplata, but Kennedy gets out nicely. Kennedy takes down Jason once again and is winning this round and fight with one minute left. Kennedy shoots and takes Jason down once again and controlling his back. This fight should be Kennedy’s.

Result: Jeremy Kennedy via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Kennedy’s wrestling was really impressive and his gas tank really held up for all three rounds. There must have been at least 10 takedowns landed by Kennedy. The wrestling would be enough, yet Kennedy pours on some solid ground and pound and roughed up Rony Jason. Jason is likely to be released here and Kennedy’s ceiling is high as he is young and his style could be tough for a lot of fighters at featherweight.

Fox Sports 1 Prelims (8 PM ET/6 PM PT)

(3) Michel Prazeres vs. Joshua Burkman (Lightweight 155 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Prazeres comes out like a man on fire and just throws a massive amount of punches. Burkman almost gets finished, but is such a tough veteran that he hangs in there and gets taken down by Prazeres. Prazeres moves into a tight north-south choke and finishes Burkman! Wow!

Result: Michel Prazeres via Submission Round 1 (1:42)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Burkman just didn’t have a single moment to get himself back together here. Prazeres caught him early and wouldn’t let up until he got that finish. The choke wasn’t even technically in right, but the sheer muscle mass of Prazeres let him brute force a tap out of Burkman. Sadly Burkman didn’t get to show much of anything in what is likely his last UFC bout.

(4) Rani Yahya vs. Joe Soto (Bantamweight 135 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Yahya coming out strong with his strikes early. A right hand lands hard and drops an off balance Yahya. Yahya lands hard again, but Soto’s chin is impressive. Both men have connected hard and often early. Failed takedown attempt by Yahya with two minutes left to the round. Yahya gets a takedown but falls into a semi-tight guillotine, but Soto abandons it and is on the bottom. Impressive first round for Yahya.

ROUND TWO: Soto clipped Yahya and dropped him, but something cut Soto and he is just absolutely pouring blood. It was a headbutt on replay. The fight will continue, but Soto’s head will open up again for sure. Soto stops a takedown attempt and gets the back of Yahya, they scramble and are back on their feet. Joe Soto looks like Ric Flair with his crimson mask he is wearing right now. Soto is getting the better on the feet as this fight goes on, Yahya is tiring here and can’t get the takedown easily anymore. Soto is stuffing every single takedown, and Yahya is just exhausted. Soto is on top as the round ends and lands some nasty ground and pound. Wow what a fight so far. One round a piece here and if the cut is fine, Soto has a shot to win here.

Round THREE: Soto taunted Yahya as he was on his stool in between rounds. Soto is the much fresher fighter here. Soto gets a takedown and is landed lots of strikes, for about two minutes straight. Yahya is doing absolutely nothing here. Yahya tries to roll, but ends up on his back again. Soto got out a slightly unfavorable position. Yahya hits some decent shots, but Soto takes down Yahya again. Should be two rounds to one for Joe Soto here in a fun fight.

Result: Joe Soto via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27 x 2)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Joe Soto started off pretty rough as Yahya looked impressive, but that 2nd round changed the fight. The accidental headbutt hurt Yahya, but it led to that nasty cut for Soto. From that point on, Yahya started to gas, and Soto began to take over. The headbutt definitely played a role here, but the heart of Soto can’t be questioned with that performance while that cut was just pouring out buckets of blood. Soto should hop into the top 15 with that win. 

(5) Sergio Moraes vs. Davi Ramos (Welterweight 170 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Moraes takes the center early and is using his long range to his advantage. Mostly feints and movement from both fighters with a small flurry from both at the same moment. Moraes is throwing very seldomly and Ramos is only trying to counter him. Moraes won this round I guess, nothing much done from either fighter, but Moraes landed a few more shots and pushed the pace.

ROUND TWO: Nothing much happening for the first couple minutes. Just faints and tentative striking from both men. Ramos lands a nice body shot that stuns Moraes momentarily. Moraes is landing a lot of these front kicks and jabs, sticking and moving so Ramos doesn’t have any chance to land anything significant. Takedown attempt from Ramos, but nothing comes of it. Again, Moraes likely won this round, but nothing much overall is happening so I wouldn’t be surprised with a Ramos round here.

ROUND THREE: Moraes is playing it pretty safe here against the late notice replacement Ramos. Moraes is really just throwing some jabs, but not a whole lot else. Ramos pushed forward to the cage wall a couple of times, but didn’t follow up as much as he needed to in order to make something happen. Ramos looks to honestly have done more in that round. Going to guess 29-28 Moraes either way, the fans lost with that bout.

Result: Sergio Moraes via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Ecochard’s Analysis: The less said the better, Moraes played safe against a late notice, dangerous opponent. Ramos took a short notice fight, moved up a weight division and couldn’t hit the larger, longer opponent. Hopefully Ramos looks better at lightweight and Moraes is less scared next time out. 

(6) Francisco Trinaldo vs. Kevin Lee (Lightweight 150 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Lee gets clipped by Trinaldo early. Lee shoots for the takedown and it gets stuffed easily. On the second attempt Lee gets the takedown. Lee is controlling the pace on the ground, but Trinaldo makes his way to the fence and gets up. A ninja-choke is attempted while Lee is trying to take him down again. Trinaldo breaks away, lands a solid shot and wobbles Lee! Lee shoots right back into a takedown attempt. Nice knee by Lee, but Trinaldo is landing hard left hands. A knee and a hard left from Trinaldo while separating from the clinch, a body shot hurts Lee and hes on the ground. Lee dodges another hard left, ducks in and goes for the takedown attempt again. What a crazy round.

ROUND TWO: Some good back and forth exchanges but nothing huge for the first couple minutes of round 2. Body shots are starting to add up for Trinaldo. Kevin Lee lands a head kick that wobbles Trinaldo! Lee takes him down and is working away on Trinaldo. Lee uses his strength and locks in the body lock from behind. Attempt for a rear-naked choke, slips it in and gets it! Lee finishes off Trinaldo with the rear-naked choke! Another good fight here tonight.

Result: Kevin Lee via Submission Round 2 (3:12)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Not without his flaws, Kevin Lee did look pretty phenomenal here tonight. Finishing Trinaldo is pretty hard to do and he did it snapping his seven fight winning streak. Lee is putting it together pretty well now with the help of his coach and is still improving at a fantastic rate. Trinaldo looked really strong in the first round and doesn’t lose a lot of stock here, but any hope of working his way towards a title fight is pretty much gone now. I’m excited to see where Lee heads after this bout. 

Fox Sports 1 Main Card (10 PM ET/8PM PT)

After a mostly exciting preliminary card, the main card has some very intriguing matchups. Let’s hope the fights continue to live up to the hype for this Fight Night from Brazil. Also an interesting correction from before, it appears Josh Burkman isn’t retiring even though he left his gloves in the cage.

(7) Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means (Welterweight 170 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Oliveira takes the center early, and lands some close hard shots. Means gets pushed against the fence and Oliveira gets the takedown early. Means goes for a couple different armbar attempts, gets nothing but stands back up from it. Oliveira gets him back down, up again and once again back down for a third time. Oliveira can’t keep him down, but keeps on taking him down. Means gets him down with a reversal though and ends up on top in side control, landing some nice ground and pound. These two men do not like each other. Means almost took the round back but it likely goes to Oliveira here. Oliveira throws a kick after the bell.

ROUND TWO: Means ducks a high kick and goes for a takedown. Oliveira counters, takes the Means to the fence and gets him down. Means gets up, and taken down again. Oliveira has his hooks in the back and Means close to flattened. Oliveira got the rear naked and taps out Means.

Result: Alex Oliveira via Submission Round 2 (2:38)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Alex Oliveira looked really strong here with hs wrestling. He really had means beat for 75% of this fight and continues to look stronger. Oliveira needs a little bit of an attitude change, throwing a strike after the bell and his rude attitude comes off as complete disrespect. The difference between someone like this and Conor McGregor is that McGregor’s disrespect is more of a front, while this feels genuine. Tim Means will come back, he always looks strong and always puts on a fun fight so his stock doesn’t take that much of a hit here. 

(8) Bethe Correia (9) vs. Marion Reneau (Women’s Bantamweight 135 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Both ladies meet in the center and exchange some strong strikes. Correia wraps up Reneau and pushes her against the cage. Reneau breaks free and Correia backs up to the center of the cage. The same exchange happens again with Reneau pushed to the fence and Correia just tying her up there and breaking again. Reneau lands some of the better strikes, but gets taken down with 15 seconds left in the round.

ROUND TWO: As the round continues, Reneau is getting slower and slower. Correia is picking up the pace and landing hard shots that are stunning Reneau. Reneau was landing some solid jabs and counter, but Correia landed most of the shots. Correia takes down Reneau again and is laying down strikes. Reneau attempts a triangle choke, but Correia slips out. Reneau is landing a lot of the shots here, but is still on the bottom and will likely need a finish in the third to get the win.

ROUND THREE: Reneau lands a nice head kick and rocks Correia. Landing strike after strike, hard lefts and rights in fluid combination. Correia goes for the takedown, but doesn’t quite get it at first. Reneau is landed hard shots while Correia attempts the takedown. Reneau on full mount, unloading trying to finish off Correia. Three minutes left in the round. Correia almost reverses and Reneau back on top. Reneau has two hooks in now and the back. Reneau goes for the rear-naked with the body triangle, just beating on Correia. Should be a 10-8 for Reneau here. If the judges get it right, I’d say it’s honestly a draw. Two rounds for Correia and a 10-8 for Reneau in the third, but let’s see…

Result: Majority Draw (29-27 Reneau, 28-28 x2)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Correia did really well for the first 10 minutes of that fight, almost a perfectly executed game-plan, but then got shaken up in the third round. Reneau looked incredible in the third with the head kick and just dominant ground performance. Shame Reneau couldn’t get the finish, but the draw is definitely the right score. Pretty entertaining fight and it most likely raised the stock of both fighters.

(9) Jussier Formiga (6) vs. Ray Borg (Flyweight 125 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Formiga comes forward and lands a solid hook, Ray Borg lands a hard uppercut following that. Man, these two are so quick it’s hard to see the shots. Kick to the cup to Borg causes a small break in the action. Borg moves in and lands a knee, Formiga clinches up and goes against the fence. Borg is landing the better shots while Formiga is controlling where the fight goes. Formiga lands a nice spinning back fish at the end of the round that shocks Borg, but Borg comes forward with another couple shots as the bell sounds.

ROUND TWO: Borg comes in for the takedown right away, but gets shrugged off. Borg looks for the flying knee which misses its target, Borg lifts Formiga into the air, but lands on his feet and stops the takedown of Borg. Formiga shoots and gets denied. Formiga lands a couple nice kicks and a jab, Borg counters with a nice left hand. Formiga lands a heavy leg kick, then gets clipped by Borg. These round are incredibly close with both men landing, countering and failing on takedown attempts. Hard to score, I’d guess one a piece going into the third.

ROUND THREE: Borg shoots for the takedown, gets it for a half second and Formiga gets up, and turns Borg, gets him down and into the mount. Borg slips out the back, Formiga grabs the cage and stays standing because of it. Formiga drops down and slips around to take down Borg. Borg get his back taken by Formiga and still just over three minutes to work. A tight body triangle will make this hard to escape from. Borg turns with two minutes left and gets on top and lands some elbows. Borg cuts open Formiga, then Formiga flips around and gives up his back. This is bad for Formiga, likely giving back this round to Borg.

Result: Ray Borg via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Very close, technical fight here. Formiga may have been just a little to passive at times and Borg slightly careless. There isn’t much of a closer fight than that. If Borg isn’t already one of the best flyweights in the world, he will be shortly. If Borg can keep making weight, he has plenty of time to improve his skills even further. Formiga doesn’t go down the rankings a whole lot here, but Borg definitely ups his stock here. 

(10) Edson Barboza (6) vs. Beneil Dariush (Lightweight 150 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Barboza lands some solid hooks and jabs early. Lots of kicks from Dariush as well while pushing forward. Dariush is landing with his left fairly often. High head kick from Barboza, nasty stuff he just throws his kicks so quick. Dariush clinched Barboza, but didn’t get much offense out of it. Barboza spins out and away from the fence as he gets clinched against it. Dariush is landing some really heavy body and leg kicks. The constant pressure of Dariush is stopping Barboza from setting up. Couple of hard leg kicks from Barboza to Dariush. Solid body shot from Barboza and another one. Barboza picks it up at the end of the round, but Dariush pushed the pace for the majority of that one.

ROUND TWO: Two heavy combinations from Barboza early, but Dariush pushes through both of them. Barboza defends the takedown attempt and spins out. Barboza is picking it up here in the second while Dariush is starting to slow down a little more. Barboza lands an uppercut to the cup of Dariush, which Dariush only takes a minute or so to recover from. Dariush comes in for a takedown and A FLYING KNEE PUTS DARIUSH OUT COLD! WOW!!!!!!!!

Result: Edson Barboza via KO Round 2 (3:35)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Another amazing finish for Barboza who just always impresses. Dariush had a good strategy and implemented it well in the first round. The second round was just all Barboza though and he put it on Dariush. Barboza’s speed is just out of this world and that knee was just absolutely vicious! Dariush got caught with a long takedown attempt, but no one saw that knee coming. Just speechless from that shot as it was pure violence. He should get a rematch with Tony Ferguson for that interim title fight.

(11) Mauricio Rua (10) vs. Gian Villante (Light Heavyweight 205 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Shogun catches the kick of Villante and chases after. These two are standing and trading. Shogun clips Villante and hurts him. An uppercut and left hook stunned Shogun! Villante clinches Shogun against the cage. Shogun lands a nice right hand on Villante now, twice in a row. Shogun knocks Villante down HARD. He’s back up, but still wobbly. 90 seconds left, Shogun pushing forward. Couple nice shots from Villante, Shogun letting him recover here. Fun round.

ROUND TWO: Both men landing strong punches, it feels like every punch could be a fight ender with these two throwing shots. Gian Villante’s coaches are going nuts because he isn’t listening to their instructions. Big left hand cracks Shogun, but Villante didn’t follow up. Villante ducks a shot and gets a takedown, but couldn’t hold Rua down. Villante slips on the canvas, but gets back up. Close second round.

ROUND THREE: Villante gets wobbled about one minute into the third round. Rua lands a patented flurry and pushed Villante towards the fence. Another solid combination and Villante drops to the ground! Rua has a three fight winning streak and it is the year 2017, what?!

Result: Mauricio Rua via TKO Round 3 (:59)

Ecochard’s Analysis: Shogun looked close to his old self here, a little slower and his chin was still fairly fragile, but his power is still there. Villante looked sloppy, rarely moved his head and kept his hands low the entire bout. Shogun took advantage of a brawl style fight and Villante just played to Rua’s strengths. Keep putting Rua in these top 10ish fights and see if he can win another one before moving him into the top 5 again.

(12) Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum (10) (Middleweight Main Event 5 Rounds 185 lbs)

ROUND ONE: Gastelum pushes forward to start the bout, slightly cautious knowing that Belfort has a fast first round normally. Belfort throws a spin kick, but doesn’t get all of it. Fast hands flying from Belfort, Gastelum dodging most of them. Belfort lands a nice left hand on Gastelum’s chin. Belfort is still the one backing up, but is landing the better shots so far. A flying knee from Belfort, but Gastelum responds with some hard jabs and reddens Belfort’s nose. Gastelum lands three or four real hard shots and the last one drops Belfort! Gastelum has Belfort on the ground and almost finishes it! Belfort gets back up and lands a few hard shots of his own, but still looks uneasy. Gastelum landing some hard jabs still. Another hard shot drops Belfort and he lands a couple more shots on the ground and that’s all they will allow Belfort to take as the ref steps in!

Result: Kelvin Gastelum via TKO Round 1

Ecochard’s Analysis: Gastelum looked amazing here tonight. Belfort looked better than he had in his last couple of fights, but his chin couldn’t hold up to Gastelum’s speed and power. If Gastelum stays in this division, he should have a really good chance at a title run. Belfort needs to fight non-contenders if he wishes to continue fighting. Three fights come to mind here, Gastelum should fight Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva or a real tough test could be a returning Luke Rockhold.

Well thank you for sticking through the long night of fights with us here at MMATorch. We hope you enjoyed the fights as much as we did. Check in with us for follow up from the event and other news throughout the week. Next weekend sees a UFC Fight Pass Event, and the following weeks will have many events from various organizations like Invicta FC and Bellator. For all your fight news, keep your eyes on the site. Thank you all and have a good night!

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