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 battle with New York native Chris Weidman looking to finish an ugly series of conflicts against Kelvin Gastelum.
The remaining portion of the card features several interesting fights for some hardcore fans. Keep a watch on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, which has serious fight 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 game who will push forward behind a steady, if occasionally loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he will do so at all three levels with a taste toward the midsection. The biggest problem is that his tendency to move in a straight line, both backward and forward.
This stress helps Weidman push his opponent to the cage where he could begin to work his fighting match. He’ll throw diverse attacks in the clinch and this will help open up 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, you can really see Weidman glow with his combination of wrestling ability and his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) has the speed and aggression in the striking department to assist conquer his size disadvantage at middleweight. He overwhelms his competitor with volume and will always probe with his jab. He’s primarily a fighter at the standup game but his feet are just as dangerous as a result of his speed and motion. Combining this strain together with his ability to keep his lead foot on the outside makes Gastelum lethal on the toes.
Gastelum’s athleticism assists greatly in his wrestling game, as his takedowns are largely based in an opportunistic explosion. That doesn’t assist with his shield, as he is far from the top defensively. Gastelum has always had difficulty against high quality wrestlers which could just grow given the jump up to middleweight.
This is an interesting fight for the future of the 185-pound branch. The division is deep with talent but only one of these two fighters could be looked at elite moving ahead. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are likely two wins away from a title shot with the branch being congested.
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