The UFC sets up shop in Long Island, New York for the first time in history this weekend for UFC on Fox 25.
The main event features an intriguing middleweight conflict with New York native Chris Weidman looking to end an ugly string of fights against Kelvin Gastelum.
The rest of the card features several fun fights for some hard-core fans. Keep an eye on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, that 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 at the game who will push forward behind a steady, if occasionally loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he will do so at all 3 levels with a taste toward the midsection. The largest problem is that his tendency to move in a straight line, both backward and forward.
This pressure helps Weidman push his competitor to the cage in which he can start to perform his fighting match. He will throw varied attacks in the clinch and this will help open his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown technique is eloquent and he also uses it both defensively and offensively. Once he is on the mat, then you really can see Weidman glow with his combination of wrestling ability along with his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) has the aggression and speed in the striking section to assist conquer his size disadvantage . He overwhelms his competitor with quantity and will constantly probe with his jab. He is primarily a boxer in the standup game but his toes are just as dangerous as a result of his speed and movement. Combining this pressure with his ability to maintain his lead foot on the outside makes Gastelum deadly on the toes.
Gastelum’s athleticism assists considerably in his wrestling match, as his takedowns are mostly based on an opportunistic explosion. That doesn’t help with his shield, as he’s far from the top defensively. Gastelum has always had trouble against high quality wrestlers and that may just grow given the leap up to middleweight.
This is an intriguing fight for the future of this 185-pound branch. The division is deep with talent but one of both of these fighters could be considered elite moving ahead. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are likely two wins away from a title shot with the division being congested.
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