The UFC’s first time at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York featured a heap of local fighters, including headliner Chris Weidman. Weidman is a former UFC middleweight champion best known for his two victories over Anderson Silva (one of which left Silva’s leg broken in half), but he’s hit a slump of late, dropping has last three fights. In his opponent Kelvin Gastelum he was facing a surging contender that has been buzzsawing through a lot of the top names at 185 pounds. But Weidman was able to overcome Gastelum’s power, taking the stocky middleweight down and submitting him with a head and arm triangle halfway through the third round.
Weidman came out and set a deliberate pace in the first, using his size advantage to stay on the outside away from Gastelum’s power striking. It was clear what the gameplan was: keep it crispy and avoid the kind of brawling that had cost him in his past few fights. Halfway through the first he took Gastelum down and very slowly worked to a kimura position, taking his time with each improvement of position. He didn’t land that sub, but it probably earned him the round, even in the face of a late flurry from Kelvin that hurt Chris.
In the third round Gastelum came out fired up and charged Weidman, slinging heavy leather. But Weidman continued to stay largely out of range, and then turned things around for a takedown. This time he capitalized on the ground, wrapping his arms around Gastelum’s neck and squeezing out a tap from a head and arm choke.
The end of the fight came at 3:45 of round 3. Afterwards an emotional Weidman took to the mic to declare his intentions on his former belt.
“Lastly, that British bum who’s crying in his freakin’ house right now,” he yelled, referring to injured middleweight champ Michael Bisping. “I’m back, baby. I’m back. What’s up? Stop hiding from the real men. Let’s go baby!”
With this bout putting him at 1-3 over his last four (and an interim 185 pound belt in play), we doubt he’ll be getting a title shot anytime soon. But it’s nice to have the All-American Chris Weidman back in the win column. We look forward to seeing him continue his storm back up the division.