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 a fascinating middleweight conflict with New York native Chris Weidman looking to end an ugly series of fights against Kelvin Gastelum.
The remaining portion of the card features several fun fights for some hard-core fans. Keep a watch on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, which has serious struggle of the nighttime potential.
Weidman (+140), the former UFC middleweight champion, is needing a triumph in this bout to prove that he belongs among the division’s elite. ‘The All-American’ is a pressure-based fighter in the striking game who will push forward behind a steady, if occasionally loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he can do this at all three levels with a taste toward the waist. The biggest issue is his tendency to move in a straight line, both backward and forward.
This pressure helps Weidman push his opponent to the cage in which he could start to perform his grappling game. He’ll throw diverse attacks in the clinch and this helps open up his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown technique is eloquent and he also uses it both defensively and offensively. When he’s on the mat, you really can see Weidman shine with his combination of wrestling ability along with his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) has the speed and aggression in the striking department to help overcome his size disadvantage . He overwhelms his competitor with quantity and will constantly probe with his jab. He’s primarily a fighter at the standup game but his feet are just as dangerous due to his pace and movement. Combining this strain together with his ability to maintain his lead foot on the outside leaves Gastelum deadly on the feet.
Gastelum’s athleticism assists greatly in his wrestling game, as his takedowns are largely based on an opportunistic explosion. That will not help with his defense, as he’s far from the top defensively. Gastelum has had difficulty against high quality wrestlers which could just grow given the leap up to middleweight.
This is an interesting fight for the future of the 185-pound branch. The division is deep with talent however one of these two 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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