A breakdown of the fights on the main card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 106 card in Fortaleza, Brazil, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:
Vitor Belfort (25-12) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (14-2)
Line: Gastelum -365
Storyline: Belfort has not looked like the same fighter since testosterone replacement therapy was banned in the sport. The former champion was the poster boy for the medical treatment when it was prevalent among fighters. Belfort has been knocked out early in three of his last four. He essentially has a good two or three minutes at the start of the fight where he’s most dangerous. Belfort represents a huge opportunity for Gastelum, a young fighter with all kinds of talent who is still looking to put everything together. Gastelum has solid wrestling and he’s a strong boxer. He just needs to avoid whatever early onslaught Belfort still has left in him and he should be fine.
Hill’s Pick: Gastelum by second-round knockout
Fang’s Pick: Gastelum by decision
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (24-10) vs. Gian Villante (15-7)
Class: Light heavyweight
Line: Rua -140
Storyline: While there is no doubt that Rua’s best days are behind him, he does have two straight wins and will have a huge advantage in crowd support. Villante is younger, faster, bigger, stronger, more durable and probably has the edge in just about any other measurable category. Rua has a big edge in experience, however, and still packs a huge punch. Villante has been susceptible to walking into big shots, so there is certainly a path to victory for the former champion. Rua has always had a questionable gas tank, so Villante may look to wear him down early and finish him late. Villante, however, has struggled with consistency.
Hill’s Pick: Villante by third-round knockout
Fang’s Pick: Rua by second-round knockout
Edson Barboza (18-4) vs. Beneil Dariush (14-2)
Line: Barboza -145
Storyline: Barboza is one of the best kickers in the entire UFC. His arsenal of kicks can both control fights and end them. This will be a big mismatch as long as the fight is standing. It’s a whole different story on the mat. Dariush is a very skilled grappler who is more than capable of submitting Barboza should he get the fight to the ground. The challenge is finding a way to get it there. Barboza will make it tough for Dariush to get inside, but the threat of a takedown may at least slow down Barboza’s kickboxing. This is a huge opportunity for two very talented lightweights.
Hill’s Pick: Barboza by decision
Fang’s Pick: Barboza by third-round knockout
Jussier Formiga (19-4) vs. Ray Borg (10-2)
Line: Borg -125
Storyline: Formiga has spent the majority of his time in the UFC ranked among the top contenders, but just hasn’t been able to get over the hump. All of his UFC losses have come against top contenders. He has been a dominant grappler in most of his other fights, though he may meet his match against Borg. Not only might Borg be able to neutralize Formiga on the mat, he has developed quite a bit of power in his punches and may pose a threat there as well. Borg appears on his way to the top of the division and a win over Formiga could accelerate that process, though it will be far from easy.
Hill’s Pick: Borg by decision
Fang’s Pick: Formiga by decision
Bethe Correia (10-2) vs. Marion Reneau (7-2)
Class: Women’s bantamweight
Line: Reneau -115
Storyline: Correia and Reneau are both more known for their losses inside the cage than their wins. Correia engaged in an intense trash-talking campaign with Ronda Rousey when Rousey was at her peak and paid the price. Rousey knocked her out in just 34 seconds. Reneau suffered a loss to Holly Holm and then lost an extremely controversial decision to Ashlee-Evans Smith. Reneau is more well-rounded, while Correia is more aggressive and will push the action. Reneau may just have too many tools.
Hill’s Pick: Reneau by second-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Reneau by decision
Alex Oliveira (15-3-1, 2 No Contests) vs. Tim Means (26-7-1, 1 No Contest)
Line: Means -180
Storyline: Two welterweights with unfinished business after their December fight ended in a no-contest. Means was dominating the action until he landed an illegal knee that ended the fight when Oliveira couldn’t continue. Means admitted the knee was intentional. He was just confused on the rules at the time. Oliveira wants revenge for the brutal blow, but he was getting dominated before the stoppage.
Hill’s Pick: Means by first-round knockout
Fang’s Pick: Means by second-round knockout