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UFC Fight Night 106 results from last night: Mauricio Rua vs Gian Villante fight recap

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Rua vs Villante Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Mauricio Rua and Gian Villante clashed last night (March 11, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 106 inside Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Full video highlights here.

Believe it or not, “Shogun” Rua came into this match on his first win streak since 2009. Despite a lot of wear-and-tear, Rua remains a top 10 fighter, and the Brazilian could actually return to the title mix with a win here.

Meanwhile, Villante has historically been an underachiever. He has some solid athleticism and skill, but Villante often cannot help but get into his own way. The New Yorker was hoping to buck that trend last night, as a victory over Rua could really propel him forward.

Rua looked sharp early, using his low kicks to judge range and remaining accurate with his hands. Despite stunning his opponent early, Rua remained patiently. However, his opponent returned the favor moments later, cracking his opponent with a pair of hard punches.

Nevertheless, Rua recovered and returned to his sharp counter punching. Moments later, he dropped his opponent with a big overhand, which was landing routinely. He wasn’t able to finish his foe, but the combination of right to the body and overhand were doing real damage.

Aside from getting rocked early, Rua’s opening round was one of his strongest in years.

Rua continued where he left off to start the second round. He wasn’t rocking his opponent as badly, but Rua was controlling range with the jab and land his power shots more often.

Villante was a little smarter about hiding his jab, but he still ate a half dozen cross counters. Additionally, the one time he seemed to stun Rua a bit, Villante failed to really put the pressure on and pursue a finish.

The New Yorker needed a knockout in the third.

Instead, it was Rua who wasted little time in securing the finish. After stunning his foe with — you guessed it! — an overhand, Rua really swarmed. Villante did little but back up into the fence, where Rua’s onslaught of hooks to the head and body quickly sent Villante to the mat.

At 35 years old, Rua’s durability has clearly dropped a bit. That said, this was Rua’s best kickboxing performance in some time. He managed range very well with kicks and long, straight punches, and he countered Villante early and often. Aside from a couple left hooks, Rua completely controlled and battered his opponent.

Villante proved his own toughness, but one can only absorb so many punches from a legendary knockout artist like Rua.

Unfortunately, this victory, Rua’s third in a row, will likely earn him a match with someone ranked above him. None of those fights are likely to go well for the Brazilian, but perhaps a battle with Ryan Bader would make the most sense.

As for Villante, this was a really uninspired performance. He never showed any of the striking depth that we’ve seen in the past, throwing naked low kicks and predictable jabs. Worse still, he never really exploded or showed his natural athleticism, standing flat-footed and eating shots.

Credit to “Shogun,” he struck very well, and it would’ve been difficult for Villante to technically out-strike him even in his best performance. That said, once Villante realized he was being picked apart, it would’ve been nice to see him really let loose with his punches and take some kind of risk.

Instead, he was slowly and unceremoniously demolished.

Last night at UFC Fight Night 106, Rua dominated and finished a ranked opponent. What is next for the former champion?

For complete UFC Fight Night 106 “Belfort vs Gastelum” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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