Chris Weidman survived some scary moments on Saturday night at UFC on Fox 25 to submit Kelvin Gastelum in the third round and snap a rough three-fight skid that dated all the way back to December of 2015.
It had been a mixed night for local fighters at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. There were good wins for Chris Wade and Shane Burgos at the beginning of the show but things turned violently against the New York contingent thereafter. Brian Kelleher was submitted by Marlon Vera, Ryan LaFlare was knocked spark out by Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira, Lyman Good dropped a unanimous decision to the jacked Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Dennis Bermudez lost a split decision to Darren Elkins.
Weidman, however, sent the fans home happy.
The proud Long Islander started well, scoring a takedown early on and coming close with a kimura, but he was dropped hard by a Gastelum left hand late in the round and might have been finished if it wasn’t for the buzzer.
Weidman recovered well between rounds and in the nondescript early stages of the second. He was subsequently able to drag the fight to the floor once more and there he dominated the stanza. Gastelum managed to get back to his feet a couple of times, but Weidman quickly subdued him on each occasion.
The third round was an exciting one, with both men coming out throwing leather with abandon and ill-intent. Weidman dropped Gastelum early in the round, but the one-time welterweight recovered. Weidman, however, would soon have him back on the floor, this time courtesy of a takedown as opposed to a punch and with just over a minute remaining in the third, Weidman locked on an arm-triangle and procured the submission.
— Paradigm Sports Management (@ParadigmSports) July 23, 2017
Weidman defeated Anderson Silva in dramatic fashion to claim the middleweight title back in 2013, drilling the mercurial longtime champion as he tried to showboat in typical fashion. ‘The All-Amereican’ made three successful defences before dropping the belt to Luke Rockhold via fourth-round TKO at UFC 194. A brutal stoppage loss to Yoel Romero and a bizarre, controversial TKO defeat to Gegard Mousasi followed.
Throughout it all though, Weidman never lost faith. In the lead up to Saturday’s fight, the Serra-Longo fighter said that he still sees himself as the best fighter in the world. After he tapped Gastelum, Weidman took aim at those who haven’t retained that same level of faith in him, as well as UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
“If you’re going through something, you will get to the other side, just believe in yourself. Screw what people’s opinions are,” Weidman said, much to the delight of the crowd at the Coliseum.
“Lastly, that British bum who is crying in his freaking house right now: I’m back, baby, I’m back! What’s up? Stop hiding from the real men. Let’s go, baby. I’m the champ and everyone knows it.”
“Keep doubting me people. I know Long Island ain’t doubting me. I know you guys got my back. But these other dudes around the world, keep doubting me, I dare you. Keep doubting me!”
The message got Bisping’s attention.
Say my name bitch! @ChrisWeidmanUFC
— michael (@bisping) July 23, 2017
At present, Bisping is on the shelf nursing a knee injury but, when he returns, the champion will have to defend his strap against recently crowned interim titlist Robert Whittaker. Weidman, then, may have to wait and probably score a couple more wins before he will get another chance to prove what he still believes, that he is the 185-pound division’s top dog in spite of recent form.
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