UFC Fight Night results: Gastelum floors Belfort, 'Shogun' Rua shines again
It may be the end of the road for Vitor 'The Phenom' Belfort after another TKO loss
Twenty years after making his UFC debut, Vitor Belfort now must decide how much longer he wants to keep fighting.
Kelvin Gastelum looked every bit of a dangerous, full-fledged middleweight, showcasing the speed and power of his hands in a first-round TKO of Belfort on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Belfort (25-14) showed good heart and speed, and had his moments on his feet in the opening minute. But one month shy of 40, Belfort was simply outgunned by the 25-year-old Gastelum.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion lost his third straight fight -- including four of five overall -- all by knockout.
“Kelvin was the better fighter tonight,” Belfort said. “He landed some shots that I wasn’t expecting.”
Gastelum (14-2) looked spectacular in notching his third straight victory, including his second since issues making weight forced a full-time move back middleweight, where he originally won “The Ultimate Fighter 17” tournament in 2013.
“I’m confident in my skills to finish any fight and I’m ready for what’s next,” Gastelum said.
The native of San Jose, California, was patient and poised in the early going, avoiding a series of dramatic striking attempts from Belfort, who looked to surprise Gastelum with his speed by attempting a spinning back kick and jumping knee. Once Gastelum picked up his opponent’s timing, the fight quickly turned.
Gastelum floored Belfort hard with a two-punch combination and instantly jumped on top to land hammer fists. But Belfort never gave in despite bruising and bleeding to his face, and worked his way back up to his feet.
Once again, Gastelum kept his poise, timing Belfort with jabs. One more overhand left from the southpaw floored Belfort a second time, forcing referee John McCarthy to intervene at three minutes, 52 seconds of the opening round.
After the bout, Gastelum called out former champion Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in a move that would suggest his future will remain at 185 pounds, although he left the door open for a return to welterweight for the right fight.
“There’s a guy really close to me that I know who started a ‘legends’ ass whipping tour’ and I want to finish it,” Gastelum said. “On June 3, want to go against Anderson, maybe in Rio. Who knows?”
Belfort, who lost three straight fights for the first time since 2005, also showed interest in fighting once more in Brazil.
“I have one fight left in my contract,” Belfort said. “I’d like to do that in my hometown of Rio. We’ll see what’s next but I want to fight at home.”
Rua stops Villante
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has certainly been through the wars, but at 35, he proved Saturday he’s not quite ready to step away anytime soon.
In a crowd-pleasing brawl heavy on boxing and short on defense, Rua (25-10) recorded his third straight victory inside the octagon via third-round TKO against Gian Villante.
“I take every fight as a dream,” Rua said. “I have had a lot of dreams in my career.”
In his first knockout victory since 2013, Rua wasted no time trading big shots with Villante (15-8) from the start in a wild opening round. After Rua wobbled Villante with a pair of right hands early, it was Rua who suddenly found himself reeling thanks to a right uppercut and left hook combination.
Once Rua figured out Villante’s timing late in the round, he began to tag him with a series of left hooks and right hands, briefly flooring him. They continued to brawl on their feet into the second round, as defense was largely forgotten.
“I was a little bit cautious with the takedowns,” Rua said. “I think Gian is a very tough guy and is a very good striker too. I went in there and put on a good striking match.”
In the end, Rua’s accuracy was just too much. A brilliant combination of unanswered uppercuts and hooks in Round 3 badly hurt VIllante, forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to wave off the fight at 4 minutes, 50 seconds.
Borg takes decision from Formiga
A third-round explosion from Ray Borg was enough to secure a unanimous decision victory over Jussier Formiga, in a meeting between top-10 flyweights.
Borg (11-2) recorded the biggest victory of his career over Formica (19-5), who entered the bout ranked No. 3 by the UFC. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.
“It wasn’t my most exciting performance but it’s hot as hell in here so that’s what you can expect against the No. 3 dude in the world,” Borg said. “I’ve got a lot to work on. I’ve got to go home and fix some things with my coaches.”
Borg, 23, relied on his boxing early as the wrestling ability of both fighters effectively canceled each other out during the first two rounds. But after a wild scramble to start Round 3, Formiga eventually worked to take Borg’s back, looking for a choke. Borg fought him off, transitioning to top position, and he closed the round with vicious ground and pound, cutting Formiga above his right eye with elbows.
After the fight, Borg called out UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, saying, “I’m coming! What’s up?”
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