The UFC sets up shop in Long Island, New York for the first time in history That weekend for UFC on Fox 25.
The main event features a fascinating middleweight battle with New York native Chris Weidman looking to end an ugly series of conflicts against Kelvin Gastelum.
The rest of the card includes some fun fights for some hardcore fans. Keep an eye on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, which has serious struggle of the night possible.
Weidman (+140), the former UFC middleweight champion, is in need of a win in this bout to prove he belongs among the division’s elite. ‘The All-American’ is a pressure-based fighter in the striking game who’ll push forward behind a steady, if sometimes loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he will do so at all three levels with a taste toward the waist. The biggest issue is that his tendency to move in a straight line, both forward and backward.
This stress helps Weidman push his opponent to the cage in which he could begin to perform his fighting match. He’ll throw diverse attacks in the clinch and this helps open his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown technique is eloquent and he uses it both defensively and offensively. When he’s on the mat, then you really can see Weidman shine with his mix of wrestling ability along with his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) gets the speed and aggression in the striking department to assist overcome his size disadvantage at middleweight. He overwhelms his opponent with volume and will constantly probe with his jab. He is primarily a fighter at the standup match but his toes are just as dangerous as a result of his speed and movement. Combining this pressure together with his ability to keep his lead foot on the exterior makes Gastelum lethal on the feet.
Gastelum’s athleticism assists greatly in his wrestling game, as his takedowns are largely based on an opportunistic explosion. That doesn’t help with his shield, as he is far from the best defensively. Gastelum has had difficulty against high quality wrestlers and that may just grow given the jump up to middleweight.
This is an interesting fight for the future of this 185-pound division. The division is deep with talent but one of these two fighters could be looked at elite moving forward. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are likely two wins away from a title taken with the branch being so congested.
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