After two mildly disappointing pay-per-view events, the UFC will be looking to draw viewers back in with UFC Fight Night 106. The event will be held on March 11th, 2017 at the Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil.
25-year-old Kelvin Gastelum takes on the aging Vitor Belfort for the main event, which is an interesting matchup in the middleweight division even if it doesn’t hold much significance for the weight-class itself.
As far as fight nights go, this is a pretty good card. So let’s dive right in. Here’s my pick for the main event.
Kelvin Gastelum (-345) vs. Vitor Belfort (+250)
Former light heavyweight champion and MMA legend Vitor Belfort (25-13) returns to the octagon to fight up-and-comer Kelvin Gastelum (13-2). It’s a battle between an established veteran on the decline and an untested youngster on the rise.
Gastelum has fought most of his career at welterweight, but has missed weight so many times that UFC President Dana White forced him to move up to middleweight. Belfort made his mark on the UFC in the light heavyweight division, but has since moved down to middleweight. So in a way, they’re both a little out of their element.
Belfort has had two middleweight title shots, first against Anderson Silva and then versus Chris Weidman. But he fell short both times. His two fights in 2016 didn’t exactly inspire confidence either. He was easily defeated by Ronaldo Souza and then trounced by Gegard Mousasi.
He officially announced his retirement late last year, but has agreed to a fight against Gastelum in his homeland of Brazil. Whether he intends to fight beyond Fight Night 106 probably depends on the result.
Gastelum made a triumphant return to middleweight late last year when he knocked out Tim Kennedy in the third round. His record at welterweight is littered with catchweight fights, and perhaps the young American is better suited to middleweight.
Vitor Belfort has sealed his name in MMA history, but as we’ve seen time and time again, aging veterans don’t always fare well against young, hungry opponents. Belfort is no longer the fighter that defeated Luke Rockhold, Randy Couture, or Wanderlei Silva, and I’m afraid he will go the way of many greats before him, and lose to a younger, stronger opponent.
Pick: Kelvin Gastelum (-345)
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