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 trying to end an ugly series of conflicts against Kelvin Gastelum.
The rest of the card features some fun fights for some hard-core fans. Keep an eye on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, that has serious fight of the nighttime potential.
Weidman (+140), the former UFC middleweight champion, is needing a win in this bout to prove that he belongs among the division’s elite. ‘The All-American’ is a pressure-based fighter in the game who’ll push ahead behind a steady, if occasionally loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he can do this at all 3 levels with a preference toward the waist. The largest problem is his tendency to move in a straight line, both backward and forward.
This pressure helps Weidman push his opponent to the cage where he can begin to perform his grappling game. He’ll throw varied strikes in the clinch and this helps open up his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown technique is smooth 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 and his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) gets the speed and aggression in the striking section to help conquer his size disadvantage . He overwhelms his opponent with volume and will always probe with his jab. He’s primarily a boxer in the standup match but his toes are only 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 leaves Gastelum lethal on the feet.
Gastelum’s athleticism assists greatly in his wrestling game, as his takedowns are mostly based in an opportunistic explosion. That will not help with his shield, as he’s far from the best defensively. Gastelum has had trouble against high-quality wrestlers which may only grow given the jump up to middleweight.
This is an intriguing fight for the future of this 185-pound branch. The division is deep with talent however one of these two fighters can be looked at elite moving ahead. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are likely two wins away from a title taken with the branch being congested.
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