Former welterweight and rising star Kelvin Gastelum took on the legendary Vitor Belfort last night (Sat., Mar. 11, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 106 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. Gastelum was coming off a win over Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 and was looking to cement his place as a new contender at 185 pounds. Belfort, on the other hand, wanted one last win in front of his home crowd, possibly to close out his long and storied career.
Belfort got the cheers and the support of the Brazilian crowd when he entered the cage. Pre-fight statistics showed that Gastelum has a reach of 71.5 inches, shorter than Conor McGregor. Gastelum was ranked No. 10 in the division, and was the significant betting favorite.
They came out circling, southpaw against southpaw. Gastelum pressured forward warily. Belfort threw a front kick to the body. He tried a spinning wheel kick that hit Gastelm’s shoulder. They exchanged, and Gastelum ducked just out of the way of Belfort’s still-lightning hands. Gastelum hit a one-two but ate Belfort’s left hand counter. Gastelum bounced for a bit, shaking it off. Gastelum landed a nice jab. He partially blocked a wheel kick to two-punch combination, then stepped in with a one-two and then a rear straight that sent Belfort to the canvas hard. Gastelum rained down shots, but “The Phenom” survived. He got back to his feet, and tagged Gastelum with a sharp combination. Gastelum stepped into range again, planted his feet, and dropped the Brazilian again with a hard one-two. The crowd fell silent as the referee stepped in, ending an extremely exciting one-round fight. Gastelum’s speed and power met a tough challenge, but ultimately his youth and aggression prevailed.
Gastelum shouts in what is presumed to be Portugese for the benefit of the Brazilian crowd, leading them in a happy birthday song for his mother that gets a positive response. He says he is confident in his skills and open to fighting middleweight legend Anderson Silva at UFC 212 on June 3 in Brazil. Vitor Belfort tells Stann that Gastelum was the better fighter, and says he has one fight left in his contract that he would like to do at home in Rio. He says that despite the result, he must hold his head up high.
Final result: Kelvin Gastelum def. Vitor Belfort by TKO, 3:52 of round one
For complete UFC Fight Night 106 results and coverage click here.