Recapping UFC on Fox 25
The UFC made its first trip to the Nassau Coliseum in their history Saturday Night. They came in with a ton of fighters on the card from the area and that certainly brought the crowd in. The biggest piece to this was the main event, which featured Long Island’s own and former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris “The All-American” Weidman (13-3 #5 Ranked Middleweight) going up against The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Winner Kelvin Gastelum (14-2 #8 Ranked Middleweight). The night was filled with fun fights however we saw a ton of decisions. We also had a potential fight of the year candidate. The New York fans saw a lot of disappointments when it came to their hometown favorites, but the crowd was into these fights the entire time. With 13 fights on the docket let’s jump into the recap.
Two Lightweights started off the UFC Fight Pass prelims with Frankie Perez (10-4) and Chris Wade (12-3). Wade came out moving forward right away and ate a body kick, but he was able to clinch in and look for a takedown. Within about 15 seconds he had Perez to the mat and was on top of him on the mat. Wade was just controlling the position and trying to transition to a mount, but Perez tried to struggle to get up and ended up giving up his back to Wade. Perez was able to get back to his feet and avoided a ton of serious damage. Perez then went for his own takedown, but Wade was able to stay out of any serious danger. Wade was searching for a kimura, but he was unable to get it, but it got it back to the feet. Perez, however, stayed clinched hit a big knee to the face and secured a takedown. Wade got back to his feet and secured a judo throw that landed him on top against the cage as the round ended. Wade came right out in round 2 with a head kick that was answered with a leg kick from Perez. Wade was trying to pressure Perez around the cage and force him up against the fence, but Perez was not allowing it. Wade secured a takedown and had a north south position up against the cage. Perez was able to transition, but it saw Wade get into side control. Wade just controlled the top position until the round ran out. In round 3 Wade again came out moving forward and was eating leg and body kicks for his effort. Wade moved right in and clinched Perez up against the cage. Perez reversed the position and was able to break away and separate. Wade landed a huge right hand that hurt Perez then tried to follow with a big kick, but Perez timed in and secured a takedown. Wade threatened with a guillotine and used it to sweep his way to the top. Wade was in Perez’s guard just really holding him on the mat and throwing the occasional punch. Perez almost gave up his back as he got to his feet. Wade just stayed on top of him pressuring the clinch. Perez finally got away and was trying to land a lot of shots, and landed a nice knee that forced a level change from Wade who just held Perez down as the round and fight ended. The judges scored this one 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 all for Chris Wade. This was a decent fight, and Wade’s wrestling ability was certainly on display. Wade had his Long Island crowd behind him and that propelled him to this victory.
“Hurricane” Shane Burgos (10-0) came in looking to remain undefeated against The Ultimate Fighter Brazil runner up Godofredo Pepey (14-5). Pepey led right out with a spinning wheel kick that missed. Burgos was continuing to just move forward at Pepey looking to land big shots. Pepey was throwing one big punch at a time, and Burgos was starting to find the timing and return shots on Pepey’s miss. Pepey started to move forward and when he changed levels he ate a knee that sent him flying backward to the mat. Burgos backed off and forced Pepey to stand up. Burgos continued to land shots and a big right hand sent Pepey right back down to the mat. Burgos again asked for Pepey to stand back up. Pepey did and went for a takedown but it was stuffed by Burgos and a clinch battle ensued against the cage. When they went back to trading Pepey landed a looping overhand right that most certainly affected Burgos. Pepey was continuing to throw huge bombs that were missing. Burgos stuffed another takedown and the round ended with the two clinched against the cage. Pepey came right out and threw a spinning heel kick that was blocked to start round 2. Burgos was starting to eat up Pepey on the feet with counters. Pepey tried to pull guard, but Burgos got right out of it and back to his feet. Burgos was landing and Pepey again tried to pull guard and he ended up eating two big hammer fists before getting back to his feet and motioning for Pepey to stand. The crowd was not happy this move of Pepey to be on his back and beg Burgos to come down to the mat continued. These two then started trading heavy shots at each other and smiling. Burgos was landing more of the impactful shots for sure. Pepey again tried to pull guard and got Burgos down, but from the top Burgos landed some heavy shots as the horn sounded. The third round was slightly delayed with an officially cleaning some water that was on the mat. Pepey came right out with a series of overhand rights that were all landing big. Burgos was not worried about it however and continued to move forward and try and counter. Pepey continued to swing wildly while Burgos was very calculated with his shots. Eventually, Pepey leaned in and went for a takedown, but it was stuffed and Burgos was just landing short shots to Pepey as he was holding on to him. Burgos dug with a deep left hand that put Pepey down on the mat, and Burgos walked away forcing Pepey to stand back up. Burgos ripped 2 big right hands, and Pepey pulled guard. Burgos just unloaded all his energy with ground and pound up until the bell. The judges scored this one 30-26, 30-26, and 29-28 all for Burgos. Burgos remains undefeated and looked very cool and calculated in this victory. Burgos is a heavy-handed prospect that could vault himself into the Top 15 in the very near future.
Top 15 Ranked UFC Heavyweight Timothy Johnson (11-4 #12 Ranked Heavyweight) welcomed Junior “Baby” Albini (14-2) to the UFC. Johnson immediately came out moving forward and landing some decent shots that Albini absorbed and worked his way off the fence. Albini landed a nice body kick but continued to move backward as Johnson came forward. Johnson clinched up against the cage and was holding Albini up as they traded knees inside the clinch. Johnson was making this a dirty boxing matchup and started to dig body shots. Albini was able to finally separate and push Johnson off of him. Albini then came with two nice combinations that landed and forced Johnson to back up. Albini landed a body kick then a 2-punch combination including a right hook that sent Johnson reeling. It only took 2 hammer fists from there to end this UFC debut with a knockout. Albini looked very fluid after the first 2 minutes, and with a very wide-open division finishing fights like this could see him jump into the Top 15 very quickly.
New York’s own Brian “Boom” Kelleher (17-8) entered the Octagon for the second time in just over a month to take on Marlon “Chito” Vera (10-3-1). The two came out and touched gloved and the fight was on. Kelleher landed a nice low kick to start, but Vera was answering with low kicks. Kelleher dropped down for a takedown attempt, but Vera was able to avoid it with a nice sprawl. The two clinched up against the cage until Vera forced the separation. Kelleher landed a nice body shot and went back in again for a takedown. Vera was stopping the takedown with a kimura threat and Vera was not letting go. Vera dragged the fight to the ground with the arm and transitioned in a scramble to an arm bar for a very quick tap. Vera’s takedown defense and submissions were very impressive, and now he is stringing together more wins we could see an even bigger step up in competition next.
The featured UFC Fight Pass Prelim had undefeated prospect Jeremy “JBC” Kennedy (11-0) taking on Kyle “Crash” Bochniak (7-2). Within 5 seconds Kennedy ducked a hook and landed a slick takedown to take control. Kennedy was able to just stay on top of Bochniak with top control. The wrestling of Kennedy was clearly the difference so far and he was not allowing Bochniak to get back to his feet. Finally, after almost 3 minutes Bochniak battled back to his feet, but he was clinched against the cage. Kennedy landed three knees to the chest in a Thai clinch, and then changed levels to score the takedown. Kennedy owned top position for the remainder of the round. Round 2 led off with Bochniak again moving forward, this time landing 2 punches and then immediately Kennedy going for a takedown. Bochniak threatened a guillotine, but Kennedy completed the takedown. Kennedy eventually transitioned to his back and continued to control the fight on the ground. The fight got back to its feet, and it was only a matter of time before another double leg takedown found Kennedy on top again. Kennedy postured up and continued to throw punches from the top as the round ended. Bochniak again was moving forward in round three and was finding a home for his shots. Bochniak landed a beautiful right hand and Kennedy tried to clinch. Bochniak avoided the clinch and just kept throwing big shots towards him. Kennedy got hit in the groin and it led to a quick break that really helped Kennedy rest. Kennedy snuck in a right hand on the restart, but Bochniak was getting the better of him on the feet. Kennedy, however, started to really look for the takedown and was chasing Bochniak around the cage. Before long Kennedy had Bochniak on the mat again. Bochniak tried to get up, but he was dragged right back down and landed a huge elbow that cut open a big cut on Bochniak’s head just prior to the round and fight ending. The judges scored this one 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 all for Jeremy Kennedy. Kennedy’s wrestling is outstanding and it showed again tonight. He may see a step up in competition next, but that wrestling can take him far in the UFC.
The UFC on FOX prelims kicked off at Heavyweight with Damian “The Polish Pitbull” Grabowski (20-5) going up against Chase “The Vanilla Gorilla” Sherman (11-3). These two came out touching gloves and the fight was on. Grabowski started to try and move forward, but Sherman responded with a nice combination that backed him up. Sherman threw a high head kick that was blocked. Sherman’s striking was very crisp and he hit a nice 1-2 combination that got through the defense. Grabowski did return fire with a big right hand, but he went to it again and it was blocked and Sherman returned fire with a knee that hit hard to Grabowski. Sherman really started landing shots including body kicks that forced Grabowski back as the round ended. Sherman worked more in round 2. He was continuing to pepper Grabowski with shots and land at will. Grabowski was surviving and staying in the fight, but Sherman was keeping his distance and landing. Grabowski kept trying to land big overhand shots, but Sherman was able to brush those off. Sherman ended round 2 with a heavy knee to the body and avoiding a gigantic swinging right hand from Grabowski. In round 3 Sherman was still landing on the feet, there was a brief stop for a warning for leading with the fingers out. Grabowski went for a takedown, and within seconds Sherman was back up to his feet. Grabowski did rip a big right hand that Sherman was able to walk through. He then went for a takedown, but Sherman was able to stuff it. Sherman then started to move forward and rip some elbows in close against the fence. Sherman clinched up and they did battle against the cage. Sherman backed away and they met in the center of the Octagon. Grabowski threw one bigger right hand that Sherman avoided and countered with shots until pressing him up against the cage as the round and fight came to an end. The judges scored this one 39-27, 30-27, and 30-26 all for Chase Sherman. This was his first fight to go to decision in a victory. Sherman’s striking looked good and proved that he could go the distance and get the job done.
Ryan LaFlare (13-2 #14 Ranked Welterweight) returned to the Octagon in front of his hometown fans to take on Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (17-3-1 2NC). The crowd was hype for their hometown guy Ryan LaFlare and really popped on his name being announced. Oliveira threw the first strike and it was a spinning kick that whiffed. LaFlare then changed levels and went for the takedown, but Oliveira was able to avoid it briefly. LaFlare finished the takedown, but Oliveira was looking for an arm bar briefly. LaFlare escaped and he ended up on top in side control. LaFlare was just all over him and on top of him in the grappling exchanges on the ground. LaFlare even threatened an arm bar late in the round as the horn sounded. We jumped into round 2 and “Cowboy” landed a stiff leg kick that buckled LaFlare’s leg. Oliveira was really starting to move forward and throw some heavy punches. LaFlare looked for a takedown, but it was stuffed. Oliveira as swinging for the fences with every shot. LaFlare again tried to go for the takedown, but Oliveira stayed away. Then as LaFlare tried to come forward Oliveira uncorked a short right uppercut that turned off the lights in LaFlare’s house. LaFlare crashed to the mat face first and it was a walk away knockout for Oliveira. He immediately jumped the cage and celebrated. This was such a tale of 2 rounds after LaFlare dominated the grappling Oliveira came out with urgency and used his power to disappoint the New York fans. Oliveira’s power is something to be reckoned with moving forward.
UFC Veteran Rafael “Sapo” Natal (21-9-1) was up next to welcome Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders (8-0) to the UFC. Anders came out pressuring Natal and forcing him back up against the cage. Natal threw a push kick to try and create space but Anders was staying in his face. Natal threw a low kick and followed up with a 1 2 combination. Anders returned fire with a nice combination that hurt Natal briefly. Anders was staying right in his face, but Natal went for a takedown. It was avoided by Anders who threw a big head kick that hurt Natal bad. He was trying to avoid and then proceeded to stumble all the way across the cage until he ran head first into the fence. Anders followed him and took him down and started pounding on Natal. Natal was able to get back to his feet, but Anders stayed in his face and hit 2 big straight lefts that landed clean and sent Natal face first into the mat. He landed 2 hammer fists, but it was all over. Anders has some serious power, and that was a hell of a UFC debut against a good UFC veteran.
The final preliminary bout had recently returned Lyman “Cyborg” Good (19-4 1NC) taking on Elizeu “Capoeira” Zaleski dos Santos (17-5). Good came right out and threw a body kick that was caught by Zaleski dos Santos and turned in to a takedown. The clinch game was up next, and Good finally got away and separated. Good snuck in a nice straight right, but Zaleski dos Santos responded with a vicious leg kick that took out Goods legs. He bounced back up and kept moving forward at him. Good then caught a low kick and turned it in to a takedown. Good was trying to transition, but it gave the opening for Zaleski dos Santos to get back to his feet. Good landed a nice knee to the face on the separation. Good caught another kick and landed a straight right hand. Zaleski dos Santos had a cut opened up above his eye from one of these strikes. These two were just trading big shots back and forth. Good threatened with a head kick, but it was glancing. Good started round 2 with a stiff left hook. He followed it up with a big overhand right as well that found a home. Zaleski dos Santos was not backing down however and returning huge punches back. Zaleski dos Santos went for a takedown, but Good avoided it and they clinched briefly against the cage. Good was stalking Zaleski dos Santos around the cage and throwing leg kicks and shots. Good stopped another single leg takedown with punches on top of it. Zaleski dos Santos was returning fire, but it was getting few and far between. Good hit a straight right, but a spinning back fist came back in return and landed straight ton. Good kept coming forward however. Good ate a huge knee from Zaleski dos Santos, but returned a huge right hand. Zaleski dos Santos threw Good backwards, but he rolled backward and got back to his feet immediately as the second round ended. The 3rd and final round started with Good again coming forward, but Zaleski Dos Santos was using his jab to land punches. These two guys were leaving it all out there on the line. Both guys were landing huge combinations and they were just continuing to go at it. Good was pressuring moving forward, but Zaleski dos Santos started to clinch up against the cage briefly. Good was able to get out of it quickly. Zaleski dos Santos ripped a huge left right combination, but Good just kept moving forward at him. At 10 seconds left they both just unloaded and Zaleski dos Santos got the better including stumbling Good. The judges were left to decide this on and they came back with 30-27, 30-27, and 28-29 for the winner by split decision Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. This was a close fight, and some people including the crowd were not happy with the decision. It is one of those situations where a close fights decision gets a poor reaction because two judges had it as 30-27 for Zaleski dos Santos, that was just not a possible score after watching this fight Good clearly took at least 1 of the first 2 rounds. The win regardless was good for Zaleski dos Santos, and it will most certainly get him looked at for an even bigger opponent next.
The FOX main card started off with a top 10 Bantamweight matchup between Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera (21-1 #4 Ranked Bantamweight) and Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida (21-2 #9 ranked Bantamweight). These two guys spent a lot of time feeling each other out, and Rivera was focusing on the body early. He landed a stiff left hand that knocked Almeida down, but he was able to recover against the cage. Rivera blocked a clinch attempt from Almeida and threw him to the ground. Rivera had some real crisp striking, but Almeida was starting to regain his composure and come back with shots. They both stood in the center of cage and threw combinations with Almeida going high and Rivera going low. Rivera landed another right hand that put Almeida down again, but Almeida was able to get right back up to his feet and survive. Almeida landed one last low kick as the round expired. The second round started off with Rivera looking for a takedown, but Almeida was able to stay on his feet and back Rivera off. Almeida threw a flying knee that landed to the body. Almeida continued to try and throw leg kicks, but Rivera was responding with some big shots that were hurting Almeida. Rivera hit another big left hand in an exchange. Almeida responded with a right left combination that connected. Almeida was trying to move forward at Rivera over and over again, but the counters of Rivera was just a bit faster. Almeida landed an inside leg kick and then uncorked a huge right hand that stumbled Rivera, but he popped right back up to try and not show how hurt he was. Almeida kept moving forward to try and capitalize. Almeida hit another nice body shot on Rivera. Almeida snuck in a unblocked head kick, but Rivera was able to walk right through it. These two guys were putting it all out there through these 1st 2 rounds. Almeida landed one last combination to the body prior to the round ending. Rivera led right out in round 3 with a single leg takedown that he completed with a big slam. Rivera was continuously trying to pass and do damage, but Almeida was able to get up and away. Rivera landed a big left hand in an exchange and then met a low kick from Almeida with a big right hand. Almeida snuck in an uppercut, but he ate another big right from Rivera. These two just were letting it all hang out on the feet until Rivera grabbed Almeida and pressed him up against the cage. Almeida got away and landed a body kick with a left hand that followed that was heavy. Rivera went for a takedown, but Almeida scooted away from it. Almeida went for a jumping knee, but Rivera turned it into a takedown, but Almeida snuck away from him. Almeida was continuing to move forward, and they were just trading shots. Almeida landed a big right hand and then Rivera did in return. The final horn sounded and they went to the judges who scored this one 29-28, 30-26, and 30-27 all for Jimmie Rivera. This was an absolute slugfest and it lived up to the hype going in. Another big win for Rivera who moved his overall win streak to 20 straight wins with 5 being in the UFC. Rivera said he should now absolutely be in the title conversation and also called out Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz (22-2 #1 Ranked Bantamweight). Rivera looked very good tonight and should absolutely be in that title conversation.
The Light Heavyweight Division was up next with two top 15 guys set to do battle in Patrick “Durkin” Cummins (10-4 #12 Ranked Light Heavyweight) and Gian Villante (15-8 #13 Ranked Light Heavyweight). Cummins mustache was on point for this one, and almost immediately he shot in for a takedown, but Villante stopped it. A second shot for the takedown was stopped and Villante landed a ton of Hammer’s fists to make Cummins give up. These two clashed heads back on the feet and a huge cut opened up on Cummins’ head so the action was halted briefly. On the restart, these guys came out and traded punches and Cummins immediately went for a takedown. Villante stopped it and then pushed Cummins off of him. Villante landed a body kick and tried to throw a head kick but that was blocked. Cummins tried a head kick of his own that missed and then another clinch up against the cage came from Cummins. Villante was using his jab to keep Cummins at bay. Villante tried a spinning back fist and Cummins pounced grabbing Villante’s back and riding him to the cage. Villante was able to turn around and they battled up against the fence. Cummins again tried to look for a takedown, but it was stopped and they hugged on the cage as the round expired. Cummins landed a nice left hook early in the round, and then tried for a takedown, but Villante stopped it. Cummins continued to try and land takedowns, but Villante’s defense was just too much for any of them to land. Cummins did move forward and land a nice combination that ended with 2 uppercuts. Cummins landed a nice jab that snapped the head back of Villante. Cummins’ face was covered in blood, but that was not stopping him from moving forward. Cummins rattled off another combination that forced Villante to circle out away from the cage. Villante responded with a hard low kick that made a very audible noise that the microphone picked up. Cummins shot in and pressed him up against the cage, but Villante escaped and the round ended. Cummins continued to move forward at the beginning round 3 and now Villante was answering with counter jabs that were landing. Villante landed a huge right hand that buckled Cummins’ knees, but he never went down and tried to shoot for a takedown. Villante stopped that and continued to pepper Cummins with shots. Villante’s jab was really landing and Cummins had slowed considerably with just less than 3 minutes to go. Cummins landed a jumping elbow and it became Villante who looked tired. Cummins hit a big right hand that landed cleanly. Villante was still game though and responded with some nice shots. Cummins came right back and hit two big right hands the last one stunned Villante a little. Cummins transitioned to the body and went for a takedown, but again Villante stopped it. They clinched against the cage, but Big John McCarthy separated them after inaction. They returned back to the center of the cage and traded back and forth. Villante was letting it all hang out and the fight ended with a big hug between the two competitors. The judges decided this one and came back with scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for the split decision winner Patrick Cummins. This was a slugfest between two guys and Cummins’ face was torn up from the action. Cummins is very durable and showed that even without his wrestling he can still get the job done.
A ranked Featherweight showdown was in the Co-Main event slot with Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez (17-7 #10 Ranked Featherweight) and Darren “The Damage” Elkins (24-5 #12 Ranked Featherweight) entering the Octagon. These two guys came right out and got the action going. Bermudez landed a nice low kick. Elkins fired one right back at him. These two were just trading combinations in a very erratic paced first 2 minutes. Bermudez tried to throw a kick but slipped and Elkins got right on him and took his back. Bermudez got back to his feet, but Elkins was still hanging on to his back. Elkins eventually tripped him back to the ground, but Bermudez got right back up. They separated and Elkins tried another combination. Bermudez threw a low kick, and mere seconds later Elkins landed a takedown and latched on to Bermudez’s back. Elkins had a body triangle locked in and he was hand fighting with Bermudez. Elkins was doing damage from the back, but Bermudez stood up with Elkins on his back and spun around landing a big shot on his way out. Elkins went right back to grappling and had him up against the cage and a slam. They clinched against the cage, and Bermudez reversed the position. Elkins went for a choke off the cage late in the round but gave it up as the round ended. In the second round Bermudez came right out and looked for a takedown, but it was stuffed with the threat of a guillotine from Elkins. Bermudez landed a nice left hook and kept moving forward at Elkins. Elkins responded with a left right combination that landed clean. They clinched briefly and on the separation, Bermudez landed a nice spinning back fist. Elkins went for a single leg, but Bermudez snuck out of it. He went for it a second time and the same result happened. Bermudez then went for his own takedown and got it with Elkins back pressed up against the fence. Elkins battled back to his feet and they battled against the cage. Bermudez again went for a takedown, but this time it was stuffed. Bermudez landed 2 nice shots inside the cage clinch, and Elkins responded with a front choke. Bermudez escaped briefly, but Elkins transitioned to his back and had a big slam. Bermudez escaped the ground rather quickly and ended the round with a slip that saw Elkins end up on his back at the horn. Bermudez came right out and landed a stiff outside leg kick to start off the round. Elkins hit him with a left hand straight ahead. Bermudez clinched up and had him pressed up against the cage. Bermudez continued to move forward and Elkins was circling away from him. Bermudez pressed him up against the cage, but it was just a matter of time before Elkins reversed the position and got out. Bermudez missed wildly, then Elkins missed with a big high kick and slipped to the ground. Bermudez again grappled him up against the cage. Elkins was able to separate and it became a swing for the fences for the last 45 seconds Elkins went for one last takedown, but the fight ended with Bermudez stuffing the takedown. The judges scored this one 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for Darren Elkins. This is now the 5th win in a row for Darren Elkins. He will most certainly get another high ranked Featherweight to try and get closer to that title shot.
Finally, in the main event, we had Chris “The All-American” Weidman (14-3 #5 Ranked Middleweight) taking on Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum (14-3). Weidman came out to an incredible ovation from the home crowd and he was ready to go. They came out and touched gloves followed by a low kick from Weidman. He peppered in another as they were searching for the correct distance between them. Weidman landed a nice right hand, but now it was Gastelum trying to control the Octagon and move forward. Weidman shot for a takedown got it and avoided a triangle choke. Weidman had partial back control and crushed some nice shots from the position. Weidman was riding the back of Gastelum who tried to roll through but just found himself on the bottom in the side control of Weidman. Chris was threatening for a kimura and was being very patient while working towards it. He came very close to getting it, but Gastelum’s defense was very good and got him out of the position and back to his feet. Gastelum was trying to land some big punches, but coming up just short. With just under 10 seconds Gastelum snuck in a big left hand that sent Weidman to his back. Gastelum jumped right on top of him and tried to pound out a victory, but Weidman was able to survive by grabbing on to a leg and the round ending. Round 2 had Gastelum coming out quickly trying to look for that big shot. Weidman was able to avoid any early trouble and ripped off a low inside kick. Weidman pushed forward and landed a nice right hand that made Gastelum move for a takedown, that was stuffed. The two clinched up against the cage and Weidman eventually secured a takedown. Gastelum was fighting hard to get up and actually gave up his back. Weidman was riding his back, all the way up as Gastelum got back to his feet. He did not last long on the feet as Weidman took him right back down. Gastelum again got back to his feet and Weidman just stayed right in his face and bringing him back down. Weidman was in Gastelum’s guard trying to land some ground and pound. Weidman continued to try and posture up to rip elbows and punches to him. The fight transitioned to Weidman on his back laying in shots as the bell sounded. Gastelum came in hot in round 3 throwing heavy punches, however, Weidman fired back and a slip from Gastelum sort of stopped his momentum. Weidman was landing shots on the feet now. Weidman ripped a body shot and was really backing down Gastelum. The head movement from Gastelum was very impressive and kept him out of a lot of danger. Weidman went for a single leg, but Gastelum was able to spin out and evade it. Weidman was undeterred as she shot for and eventually got a double leg takedown. Gastelum got back to his feet and Weidman was holding on to his waist from the back. Weidman dragged him back to the ground and had his back. He was searching for a submission from the back. Weidman transitioned to a head and arm choke that was in very tight. Gastelum was trying to fight out, but eventually, it was just too much and he was forced to tap. The crowd absolutely exploded for the tap, and Weidman jumped the cage to call for his wife to join him in the cage. He hugged his corner man and embraced Gastelum. This could not have been a bigger win for Weidman. He defeated a surging Gastelum and put the three losses in a row in the past. Weidman said that he was back and still has a lot left in the tank moving forward. Expect a top 5 matchup in the very new future for the former champ.
This was a decent set of fights tonight. We had a flurry of finishes that went along with the decisions. The two split decisions on the main card added to the conversation about the card. The big news is the return to the win column for Chris Weidman. He delivered in front of his hometown crowd and got a much-needed finish while surviving early adversity. This upcoming week is a big one for the UFC. You have week 3 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and then the biggest card of the year UFC 214. The card is absolutely stacked from the undercard to the 3 title fights. We have the UFC Women’s Featherweight title matchup between Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger (19-5) taking on Cris Cyborg (16-1 1NC), The Welterweight Title fight between Demian Maia (25-6 #1 Ranked Welterweight) and Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (16-3-1 Welterweight Champion), and the return of Jon “Bones” Jones (22-1 #1 Ranked Light Heavyweight) and Daniel “DC” Cormier (19-1 UFC Light Heavyweight Champion). They showed an interview with DC and Jones before the main event and the hatred was palpable. This card is so unbelievable top to bottom, and it is expected to be the crowning jewel of the summer for the UFC. Hopefully, this card lives up to the hype it has going in, and fingers crossed Jones and Cormier make it into the Octagon with no hiccups.