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 an intriguing middleweight battle with New York native Chris Weidman trying to end an ugly series of fights against Kelvin Gastelum.
The remaining portion of the card features several fun fights for some hardcore fans. Keep an eye on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, that has serious struggle of the nighttime 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 striking game who’ll push ahead behind a steady, if sometimes loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he can do this at all three levels with a preference toward the waist. The biggest issue is that his propensity to move in a straight line, both forward and backward.
This stress helps Weidman push his competitor to the cage in which he could start to work his grappling game. He’ll throw varied strikes in the clinch and this will help open up his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown method is eloquent and he also uses it both defensively and offensively. When he is on the mat, then you can really see Weidman shine with his mix of wrestling ability along with his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) gets the aggression and speed in the striking department to help conquer his size disadvantage at middleweight. He overwhelms his opponent with volume and will constantly probe with his jab. He is primarily a boxer in the standup match but his feet are only as dangerous as a result of his speed and motion. Combining this strain with his ability to keep his lead foot on the outside makes Gastelum deadly on the toes.
Gastelum’s athleticism helps greatly in his wrestling match, as his takedowns are mostly based in an opportunistic explosion. That will not assist with his shield, as he’s far from the best defensively. Gastelum has always had trouble against high quality wrestlers and that could only grow given the leap 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 both of these fighters could be looked at elite moving ahead. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are both likely two wins away from a title shot with the division being congested.
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