Top five fights to make after UFC Fight Night 106

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What a remarkable event. After being overlooked by the previous pay-per-view, UFC Fight Night 106 delivered the best action so far of 2017 and could withstand throughout this calendar year. Six finishes and numerous decisions worth re-watching all made the UFC’s second trip to Fortaleza, Brazil worth every second.

In the main event, Kelvin Gastelum earned the TKO victory by stopping former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort in the first round. The win was Gastelum’s third straight since July of 2016, and Belfort’s third straight loss since May of 2016.

There are numerous matchmaking suggestions to make, but which fighters stood out the most following Belfort vs. Gastelum? We now will take a look at the top five fights to make after UFC Fight Night 106.

5. Kevin Lee vs. Rustam Khabilov

Kevin Lee managed to pull through with a huge win Saturday night, ending the seven fight win streak of Francisco Trinaldo. A head-kick in the second round saw Trinaldo on wobbly legs, with Lee able to score a takedown before securing the rear-naked choke finish. The victory was “The Motown Phenom’s” fourth straight victory in the octagon and his third in a row coming by stoppage.

Rustam Khabilov is also riding a win streak of his own, having earned four straight unanimous decision victories. What caught my eye in a potential bout between these two came from a string of tweets initiated by Khabilov. He stated that Lee “disrespected” his hometown and wants to “test” his wrestling skills. The winner of a fight between Khabilov and Lee would more than likely see themselves fit securely into the UFC’s Top 15 rankings.

4. Shogun Rua vs. Misha Cirkunov/Volkan Oezdemir winner

Wow. The fight between Shogun Rua and Gian Villante did not disappoint. After multiple moments shared by each throughout the fight, Rua showed more durable before landing the fight ending punches in round three. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is an absolute legend of the sport, still racking together wins this late into his mixed martial arts career. After two straight knockout losses in 2014, his career looked to be almost over. However, three victories in the row speak for itself: he’s still got it.

Hopefully by now we all know that Misha Cirkunov is re-signed with the UFC. After contract disputes between he and the promotion that left Cirkunov momentarily as a free agent, everyone finally came to terms on a deal. The 30-year-old Latvian has been impressing everyone with his four straight octagon finishes, lastly defeating Nikita Krylov by guillotine in the first round last December. Announced early today, Cirkunov is set to face off against Volkan Oezdemir on May 28th. Oezdemir lastly defeated Ovince St. Preux by split decision in his UFC debut.

Rua would be out for a while if this fight were to take place. However, with most of the light heavyweight division already booked, this appears to be one of the more appropriate choices.

3. Ray Borg vs. Joseph Benavidez

It was a tight 15 minute battle, but Ray Borg would come out victorious over Jussier Formiga by unanimous decision. The two lone losses to occur during his mixed martial arts career both fell in the UFC. However, his six submissions and exciting ground game have seen him collect eleven total professional victories. Now with back-to-back decisions in Borg’s favor, the division is seeing him climb quickly. With the flyweight division as thin as it is, a talent in “The Tazmexican Devil” is much needed.

Joseph Benavidez has always been one of the greatest flyweights on Earth, but he has yet to catch a title in his career. Two losses to Demetrious Johnson and two losses to Dominick Cruz are the only four fights that have not gone in his favor. Since a knockout loss to Johnson in December of 2013, Benavidez has racked together an impressive streak of six victories.

If the fight falls through, the winner of Borg vs. Benavidez should receive the next flyweight title shot at the winner of Demetrious Johnson and Wilson Reis.

2. Edson Barboza vs. Dustin Poirier

What an incredible highlight reel knockout from Edson Barboza. After dropping the first round an a majority of the second, he would land a beautifully-timed flying knee sending Beneil Dariush crashing down unconscious. Barboza received a “Performance of the Night” bonus with his stunning finish, his eighth bonus with the UFC. This victory adds to a string of three wins, having also defeated Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis in 2016.

Dustin Poirier is fighting Barboza’s friend training partner Eddie Alvarez on May 13th in Dallas, Texas. Coming off a majority decision win over Jim Miller, Poirier is looking to score his sixth victory since returning to the lightweight division.

If he can come out victorious over Alvarez, imagine the find of fight we could see. The unpredictability of Barboza with his diverse leg kicks and one-shot knockout power Poirier possesses; this would provide fireworks for everyone watching. If Poirier can’t get the job done, I’d say match Barboza up with Khabib Nurmagomedov (whenever his return may be).

1. Kelvin Gastelum vs. Luke Rockhold

The first knockdown for Kelvin Gastelum over Vitor Belfort almost saw the referee stop the contest. Belfort would survive the initial onslaught, but would suffer a second knockdown seeing him suffer defeat by TKO at 3:52 of the first round. Weight-cut issues have caused Gastelum problems in making the welterweight limit, having missed in that weight class on two separate occasions. Having won season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter with four wins coming the middleweight division, I’d say he’s doing well in staying up at weight. The win over Belfort was his third straight, having also defeated Tim Kennedy by TKO and Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision.

A lot of people may not be a fan of my decision, here. The middleweight division is fairly tight that provides a variety of options for matchmaking. I’m suggesting Rockhold, as he has been out of competition since losing the middleweight strap to Michael Bisping. We are approaching nearly a year without seeing him compete inside the octagon, and he’s due for a comeback fight soon. I think a return fight for Rockhold against Gastelum makes quite a bit of sense. The test for both would be tough, with Rockhold needing a victory for his return fight and Gastelum on the rise here at 185 pounds.

Other fights to make after UFC Fight Night 106:


Alex Oliveira vs. Neil Magny
Sergio Moraes vs. Ben Saunders
Joe Soto vs. Pedro Munhoz
Michel Prazeres vs. Adriano Martins
Jeremy Kennedy vs. Darren Elkins
Paulo Henrique Costa vs. Dongi Yang


Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva or retirement
Gian Villante vs. Jordan Johnson
Beneil Dariush vs. Leonardo Santos
Jussier Formiga vs. Tim Elliott/Louis Smolka winner
Tim Means vs. Erick Silva
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jim Miller
Davi Ramos vs. Jim Wallhead
Rani Yahya vs. Damian Stasiak
Josh Burkman: released
Rony Jason vs. Chris Gruetzemacher
Garreth McLellan: released


Bethe Correia vs. Leslie Smith
Marion Reneau vs. Katlyn Chookagian/Irene Aldana winner


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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been part of the MMASucka team since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, he serves as a writer with partner site Last Word on Motorsports.

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