The UFC is set to make its debut on Long Island this upcoming weekend, as UFC on FOX 25 is slated to take place on Saturday night (July 22, 2017) live from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The UFC has stacked the deck with Long Island fighters, and the event will be headlined by former middleweight champion Chris Weidman taking on rising contender Kelvin Gastelum in a five round bout.
In the co-main event, featherweight stand out Dennis Bermudez will meet streaking veteran Darren Elkins. In addition, Gian Villante will clash with Patrick Cummins in a battle of light heavyweight contenders on the main card.
With that being said, let’s go ahead and take a deeper look at the card’s top three fights:
Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum
This is a pivotal bout for both men.
In Weidman’s case, the ex-champion’s back is against the wall. The 33-year-old Long Island native has lost three consecutive fights, with all three losses coming by way of TKO at the hands of Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi.
For Gastelum, this fight is about establishing himself as a legitimate contender in the middleweight division. The 25-year-old has scored back-to-back victories since moving back up to 185 pounds, although his latest victory over Vitor Belfort was changed to a no-contest after Gastelum tested positive for Marijuana.
Despite his recent losing skid, Weidman remains one of the best middleweights in the world. He tends to use a pressure-heavy, wrestling-based style backed by an underrated submission game, and a serviceable striking game. He certainly has knockout power, but the grappling department is where Weidman’s greatest strengths lie.
Gastelum, on the other hand, is a very well-rounded fighter, and possesses the pure striking advantage in this bout. He throws crisp combinations, and has showcased legitimate knockout power in recent memory.
If Gastelum can land big shots on the feet, it may end up being another rough night for Weidman. However, I feel as if Weidman will be fueled by the home field advantage. I expect the ex-champion to put the pressure on Gastelum and use his grappling to get back into the win column.
Prediction: Chris Weidman def. Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision