Weidman vs Gastelum
Once upon a time, a man called Anderson Silva ruled the middleweight division, he was the owner of a legendary run of title defences against many future Hall of Famers. Over the span of 7 years, Silva racked up highlight finish after highlight finish making world class opposition look average in the process until finally, he met a promising talent with a meagre 9 fights on his professional record.
What threat could this fighter possibly pose? Well, funnily enough, the man with only 9 fights on his record ended the streak in jaw dropping fashion.
Chris Weidman did the unimaginable, dethroning the seemingly invincible Anderson Silva. A rematch produced the same result albeit under different circumstances, Silva suffering an injury from a checked leg kick leaving him writhing on the floor in no position to continue.
Two successful title defences against Lyoto Machida & Vitor Belfort proceeded the wins over Silva, it looked as if the middleweight division had another dominant champion at the helm in Chris Weidman.
Step forward Luke Rockhold, Weidman somehow survived a brutal ground and pound onslaught in round 3 of their fight
however, the accumulative damage had taken its toll and Rockhold got the finish in the following round.
The rematch was set 7 months later but Weidman was forced to pull out and seek treatment for a neck injury. Weidman would finally return 11 months after the Rockhold loss to fight fellow contender Yoel Romero, the fight was competitive until Romero landed this
finishing the fight in the third round.
Weidman was thrown right back into the mix taking on much improved Gegard Mousasi. During round two, Weidman was struck with knees in a situation where his hands were close to the mat, the referee called a timeout judging the strikes as illegal.
NYASC officials reviewed the footage and concluded the strikes were in fact legal, with the doctors deeming Weidman unfit to continue Mousasi won the fight officially by TKO handing Chris his third defeat in a row.
Weidman now finds himself in a situation where he may well be fighting for his UFC career this Saturday.
If you’re looking for a story of a fighter using his shortcomings as motivation for success look no further than Kelvin Gastelum, the former Ultimate Fighter winner had been campaigning as a welterweight for 3 years after initially winning the competition as a Middleweight.
During his Welterweight run, Gastelum’s biggest enemy was the scale. Failing to make weight on three separate occasions.
Due to the frequent incidents, Gastelum was forced to fight at Middleweight against Tim Kennedy, although Gastelum had beat a genuine Middleweight in Uriah Hall to win TUF 17 many people (including me) considered him undersized at the weight. For this reason, Kennedy was a big favourite.
Gastelum put a one sided beating on Kennedy like nobody has before, culminating in a TKO finish during the final round.
The fashion in which Gastelum dispatched Kennedy led many observers and experts to believe that with all things considered Middleweight could be Gastelum’s ideal weight after all.
Next for Gastelum was a trip to Brazil matching up with Vitor Belfort in front of his home crowd. Another successful outing, getting a stoppage in the opening round.
Although Chris Weidman is carrying 3 successive losses into the octagon, all of those fights were close up until the time at which they were stopped. This is Gastelum’s toughest challenge at 185lbs by far & if we see another commanding performance from him you can add his name to the list of genuine threats to the 185lb title.
Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida
These two combine to make a record of 42-2. This is a highly competitive fight featuring two young, talented, mixed martial artists. Great way to start the card.
Main Card Predictions
Chris Weidman vs Kelvin Gastelum (Gastelum)
Dennis Bermudez vs Darren Elkins (Bermudez)
Patrick Cummins vs Gian Villante (Villante)
Jimmie Rivera vs Thomas Almeida (Almeida)