Here are five good reasons (aside from the fact it’s live and free on FS1) to check out the UFC’s return to Brazil on Saturday night.
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How much does Vitor have left?
It seems like every week fans are subjected to watching a fighter a bit past his prime make a decision on whether or not they should keep fighting. Last week at UFC 209 it was former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and now it’s former middleweight titleholder Vitor Belfort as he takes on Kelvin Gastelum in the UFC Fortaleza main event.
Belfort started fighting for the UFC back at UFC 12 in 1997 and 20 years later is still ranked as one of the best 186-pound fighters in the world. The last two years haven’t been kind to “The Phenom,” as he’s dropped three of four, including back-to-back knockout defeats at the hands of top contenders Gegard Mousasi and Jacare Souza.
At 39, he has a tough road ahead if he wants to make one final run at the title.
Welterweight no more
It appears Kelvin Gastelum has found a home in the 185-pound division after multiple failed trips to the scale while fighting as a welterweight.
Gastelum still believes 170-pounds is his optimal weight class but it’s hard to argue with the results of his “official” debut at middleweight a few months ago when he easily dispatched Tim Kennedy at UFC 206.
If he earns another middleweight win against a top 10 opponent, it’ll only be harder for him to go back down in weight.
Beneil Dariush doesn’t get much fanfare but the lightweight has been the epitome of consistency since entering the UFC in 2014. He’s won eight of his 10 UFC bouts, taking down names like Jim Miller, Michael Johnson and Daron Cruickshank along the way.
That type of consistency against the best fighters in the world typically pays off and now, Dariush stands just a few wins away from earning a title shot. First up is fifth-ranked Brazilian Edson Barboza. A win Saturday immediately makes Dariush a contender.
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The Bethe is back!
Bantamweight Bethe Correia didn’t let back-to-back losses hold her back as she rebounded nicely against Jessica Eye and returns to fight in Brazil for the first since being KOed by former champion Ronda Rousey.
Correia is a fierce competitor who flat-out brings it on fight night. The women never disappoint in the Octagon so odds are her bout against Marion Reneau will be in contention for “Fight of the Night” when all is said and done.
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Old school vs. New School
Several bouts at UFC Fortaleza feature up-and-coming fighters taking on UFC veterans and Brazilian legends. In the main event, Gastelum is facing Belfort, Shogun Rua battles Gian Villante in the co-main event and Francisco Trinaldo takes on Kevin Lee during the FS1 prelims.