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 battle with New York native Chris Weidman looking to end an ugly string of conflicts against Kelvin Gastelum.
The rest of the card includes several interesting fights for some hard-core fans. Keep an eye 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 triumph in this bout to prove he belongs among the division’s elite. ‘The All-American’ is a pressure-based fighter in the striking game who will push ahead behind a steady, if sometimes loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he will do this at all three levels with a preference toward the midsection. The largest issue is his tendency to move in a straight line, both forward and backward.
This pressure helps Weidman push his competitor to the cage in which he can begin to work his fighting match. He will throw diverse strikes in the clinch and this will help open up his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown method is smooth and he also uses it both defensively and offensively. When he is on the mat, then you really can see Weidman glow with his mix of wrestling ability and his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) gets the aggression and speed in the striking department to assist conquer his size disadvantage at middleweight. He overwhelms his competitor with quantity and will constantly probe with his jab. He’s primarily a fighter at the standup match but his toes are just as dangerous as a result of his speed and motion. Combining this pressure with his ability to keep his lead foot on the outside leaves Gastelum deadly on the feet.
Gastelum’s athleticism helps considerably in his wrestling game, as his takedowns are largely based on an opportunistic explosion. That doesn’t help with his shield, as he is far from the top defensively. Gastelum has had trouble against high-quality wrestlers which could only grow given the jump up to middleweight.
This is an intriguing fight for the future of the 185-pound branch. The division is deep with talent but one of both of these fighters can be looked at elite moving forward. That having been said, Weidman and Gastelum are likely two wins away from a title shot with the division being so congested.
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