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 trying to finish an ugly series of fights against Kelvin Gastelum.
The rest of the card features some interesting fights for some hardcore fans. Keep an eye on Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida, which has serious fight of the night 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’ll push ahead behind a steady, if occasionally loose jab. Weidman likes to throw kicks and he can do so at all three levels with a taste toward the waist. The biggest problem is his tendency to move in a straight line, both backward and forward.
This pressure helps Weidman push his competitor to the cage where he could begin to work his grappling game. He will throw diverse attacks in the clinch and this will help open his wrestling. A former D1 wrestler, Weidman’s takedown method is eloquent and he uses it both defensively and offensively. Once he’s on the mat, then you can really see Weidman shine with his combination of wrestling ability along with his black belt in BJJ.
Gastelum (-170) gets the aggression and speed in the striking department to help overcome his size disadvantage at middleweight. He overwhelms his opponent with quantity and will constantly probe with his jab. He’s primarily a boxer in the standup match but his feet are only as dangerous as a result of his pace and movement. Combining this pressure with his ability to keep his lead foot on the exterior makes Gastelum lethal on the toes.
Gastelum’s athleticism helps considerably in his wrestling match, as his takedowns are mostly based on an opportunistic explosion. That will not help with his defense, as he’s far from the top defensively. Gastelum has always had difficulty against high quality wrestlers and that could just grow given the jump up to middleweight.
This is an interesting fight for the future of this 185-pound branch. The branch is deep with talent but only one of these two fighters can be looked at elite moving ahead. That being said, Weidman and Gastelum are both likely two wins away from a title taken with the branch being so congested.
Read more: fighthits.net