Category Archives: Chris Weidman

MMA coach Ray Longo on how he looks for concussed fighters and has 'the talk'

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Fighting is a rough business, but veteran MMA coach Ray Longo tries to minimize risks in the gym.

When a fighter gets too banged up, he has “the talk” with them.

Such was the case with UFC veteran Pete Sell (10-6 MMA, 2-5 UFC), who suffered knockout losses in four of his final eight fights. Sell retired in 2012.

“‘Drago’ would fight you tomorrow,” Longo told MMAjunkie Radio. “He wants to fight. That’s what he loves to do. But we’re just not having it.”

Longo said his longtime charge Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) hasn’t taken too many major hits during his decorated career in the UFC. But he’s watching.

“We do a lot of concussion testing in the gym with some newer technology stuff,” Longo said. “It’s a hot topic, and we’re definitely not turning a blind eye to it. I believe we’re on top of it.”

The gym is one of the last lines of defense when it comes to resting concussed fighters. Although state athletic commissions issue suspensions to those who’ve been through knockouts or tough fights, enforcement of no-contact orders is not realistic for a sport that’s so geographically spread out.

In reality, there’s little to stop a fighter who wants to jump back into sparring after a knockout, other than professional colleagues.

Longo said he used to be a “wild man” when he was a young martial-arts practitioner. But now, he sometimes keeps students benched for up to one month if they’ve been concussed in sparring.

“Both (Aljamain Sterling) and Chris, I pulled back on their sparring for (their respective fights at UFC 214 and UFC on FOX 25),” he said. “I don’t think you can ever be too cautious, but this is the sport they choose, and they are going to get hit.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for July: One of the prettiest transitions you'll see in MMA

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best submissions from July. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Submission of the Month” award for July.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The nominees

Tecia Torres def. Juliana Lima at TUF 25 Finale

After going to a decision in nine consecutive fights to open her pro career, Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) finally picked up her first stoppage win when she choked out durable Brazilian Juliana Lima (9-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC)

Torres became the first to tap Lima when she found a way to her opponent’s back early in the second round of the women’s strawweight bout. She secured a rear-naked choke moments later, earning a win without the help of the judges for the first time (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Jimmy Flick def. Johnny Bedford at LFA 16

UFC veteran Johnny Bedford (23-13-1) was a 5-1 favorite heading into his bantamweight main event, and it made Jimmy Flick’s (10-3) third-round submission win all the sweeter.

Flick, who closed as a +350 underdog to -500 favorite Bedford at the sports books, picked up arguably the biggest win of his career. He threw out a number of submission attempts, and it was finally a D’Arce choke that stuck for the finish (via Twitter):

Marlon Vera def. Brian Kelleher at UFC on FOX 25

After picking up a surprising and quick submission win in his UFC debut earlier this year, Brian Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) experienced the other side of the coin when he tapped out early in the first frame of his fight with Marlon Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

In a grappling exchange in the bantamweight bout, Vera transitioned to a slick armbar, which forced Kelleher to tap out, giving Vera his third consecutive victory (via Twitter):

Chris Weidman def. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25

Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) won’t back down. The former UFC middleweight champion survived a knockdown from Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the opening frame before taking over on the mat, securing an arm triangle at the 3:45 mark of Round 3.

Weidman snapped a three-fight losing skid that had many MMA observers doubting whether he’d be able to keep his UFC job, let alone return to championship form. He did so by becoming the first to stop Gastelum inside the distance (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Brian Ortega def. Renato Moicano at UFC 214

Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Renato Moicano (11-1-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) were nearly two-and-a-half rounds into a striking war that cageside fans could hear as well as they could see. Then Moicano made the questionable decision to take down Ortega in the featherweight fight.

It played right into Ortega’s submission strengths as Moicano inadvertently stuck his neck into a guillotine choke that Ortega squeezed for the finish, forcing the tap at the 2:59 mark of Round 3 (via Twitter):

* * * *

The winner: Marlon Vera

Marlon Vera

It started out looking like a run-of-the-mill submission defense by Vera, who trapped Kelleher’s arm to stop the single-leg takedown early in the opening round.

It turned into much more.

When Kelleher tried to give up on the takedown, Vera stuck with the kimura trap, using it to transition into a slick armbar that forced the submission at the 2:18 mark of Round 1.

The transition to the armbar was about as smooth a submission as you’re likely to see, and it clearly caught Kelleher off-guard. He started off well, moving to an early takedown attempt with Vera pressed against the cage.

But when Vera reached down to snag Kelleher’s arm in a kimura, it halted Kelleher’s hopes for a takedown and forced him to bail on the move. When he went to back out of the single-leg takedown, however, Vera clamped down harder on his arm, using it to spin him around before spinning himself right into position for the armbar.

Kelleher tried to get his arm back, but by that point, it was too late. Vera already had the limb extended and showed no indication that he was willing to give it back.

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Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

The best from UFC on FOX 25

The door is closed on UFC on FOX 25, which took place Saturday at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. The card aired on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and featured former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) earning a submission victory over Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the main event.

MMAjunkie was on-site for the event bringing the most thorough coverage from beginning to end. The UFC’s debut in Long Island proved to be an eventful one, and in case you happened to miss any of the fight-night or post-fight coverage, here are five items (in no particular order) to see before moving past UFC on FOX 25.

* * * *

1. Junior Albini says UFC on FOX 25 bonus means daughter will no longer have to play with empty shampoo bottles

2. Chris Weidman calls out ‘British bum’ Michael Bisping, who fires back on Twitter in typical fashion

3. Chris Weidman claims he’s the best, though he’s not – or is he? Here’s where it gets complicated

4. Patrick Cummins’ face was a ridiculous mess after UFC on FOX 25

5. Kelvin Gastelum planning welterweight return after loss to ‘really strong’ Chris Weidman

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

5 thoughts to ponder after UFC on FOX 25

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UFC on FOX 25 is in the books, and while the card apparently didn’t attract much interest by drawing the lowest overnight ratings in the history of the series, there were some compelling moments and storylines coming out of Saturday’s FOX-televised event at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Here are some takeaways from UFC on FOX 25, which saw former UFC middleweight Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) snap a three-fight losing skid with a third-round submission of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the main event.

* * * *

Chris Weidman is still very good.

It was fairly surprising a fighter of Weidman’s caliber was sitting on three consecutive losses, but rough patches happen in MMA, and the “All-American” never gave up hope despite more than two years of disappointment.

Although he’s already being discredited for beating “a bloated welterweight,” Weidman’s performance against a rising star like Gastelum showed he has more left to offer. Weidman never let outside noise trickle in and always felt he would reestablish himself, which he did with the submission win.

There are fair questions about Weidman’s chin after getting dropped by Gastelum and taking considerable damage from Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. However, if that flaw forces Weidman to transition into a more grappling-heavy style, that probably caters best to his skillset going forward, anyway, because there are few in the division capable of hanging with him on the mat.

Kelvin Gastelum probably belongs at welterweight.

It was only four months ago that we were pleading for Gastelum to drop the talk of a return to welterweight after his destruction of Vitor Belfort, but the loss to Weidman showed he was probably onto something, after all.

Gastelum can be a serviceable fighter at 185 pounds, but at welterweight his ceiling is likely a lot higher. He struggled madly with the size and strength of Weidman, and as he moves further up in competition in the weight class, those factors will be even more prominent.

“The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner said the loss will change him for the better. If he lives up to his word and gets his act together on diet and discipline, he should get one final chance to see what he can do 170 pounds, but there’s going to be no room for error.

Darren Elkins and Team Alpha Male deserve more credit.

The emergence of Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) as a true featherweight threat has been an interesting storyline to follow, and it’s no coincidence the success coincides with his move to Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif.

Team Alpha Male has had its turbulent moments, but the corner crew of Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo and Chris Holdsworth have had many more successes than failures of late, and Elkins’ five-fight winning streak, capped off by a split-decision win over Dennis Bermudez, should be one of their prouder achievements.

Elkins’ style won’t ever have fans lining up at the box office, but his ability to ware opponents down through any situation is commendable. How far he can take this run remains to be seen, but the fact he has the second most wins in UFC featherweight history behind only champ Max Holloway means he can’t be ignored as a threat.

Patrick Cummins wears it like few others.

When Patrick Cummins’ (10-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) career is done someone needs to compile an album of his face after every fight. Win or lose, Cummins leaves the octagon looking like he just came out of a car wreck, and that was no different in his split-decision win over Gian Villante.

Cummins’ chin hasn’t always held up, but it did against Villante, and actually led him into a situation where he was able to out-strike his opponent, which was a surprise.

The inconsistent nature of Cummins’ career makes his fights hard to predict, but the common theme is that it’s not going to be an easy night for anyone when “Durkin” steps in the cage.

Dominick Cruz is an excellent broadcaster who still needs work.

Going through a nearly seven-hour broadcast without flaw is an impossible feat. No other sport requires such endurance in the broadcast booth, and while Dominick Cruz has quickly become of the best to do it, his latest work alongside Brian Stann and Jon Anik showed he needs to better round out the ideas he presents to viewers.

Cruz is as knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in the sport from a technical perspective, but his attempt to juggle commentary with fight scoring revealed flaws in his ideologies. Perpetuating the dated idea that a late, ineffective takedown from a fighter losing a round can “steal” it for them is wrong, especially under the new scoring criteria.

It’s nitpicky, but fight commentary is a huge influence of the narrative viewers take away. Cruz, Stann, Joe Rogan and all the rest provide brilliant analysis, but when it comes to the (admittedly confusing) rules and regulations, there needs to be greater caution.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Long Island's 10 memorable moments, including yet another Michael Bisping callout

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman entered Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 main event bout against Kelvin Gastelum on a three-fight losing skid. Weidman got back in the win column with a third-round submission victory in front of a hometown crowd on Long Island. To say the win gave Weidman a boost in confidence would be an understatement.

“I’m the champ. I’m the best guy in the world, and I think people know that,” Weidman said at the post-fight news conference. “If (UFC middleweight champ Michael) Bisping grows some balls, that fight will happen. I know (Robert) Whittaker just did a great job winning the interim belt (against Yoel Romero at UFC 213), but I think he’s hurt. He’s got knee surgery. I’m available. I’m ready to go. We’ll see what happens.”

Weidman wasn’t the only fighter to take a step in the right direction at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. Below are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. Picking a fight

After securing his first win since May 2015, Weidman did his best to pick a fight with Bisping, calling the champ a “British bum.” Unsurprisingly, Bisping didn’t let the remark slide and the two engaged in a social media skirmish that lasted well into Sunday.

Despite his efforts, Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) isn’t likely to get a title shot with a 1-3 record in his last four fights. You can’t blame the guy for aiming high after his win over Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC), especially in the current landscape where potential pay-per-view sales are one of the driving forces behind which title fights get booked.

At the very least, Weidman’s victory adds another wrinkle to a division that’s getting a bit crowded at the top.

2. An impressive run continues

Darren Elkins has been one of the bigger surprises of 2017. Well into the 10th year of his professional career, Elkins’ profile has never been higher. Fighting in the first co-main event of his UFC run, Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) eked out a split decision over Dennis Bermudez (16-7 MMA, 9-5 MMA) to extend his unbeaten streak to five straight.

“The grind is my game, and those are the fights I’m going to succeed in,” Elkins told MMAjunkie after the win. “It’s not the prettiest stuff sometimes, but I make it work, and I make it work good.”

Elkins went on to say he’s looking to face a top-five fighter in his next outing, naming Chan Sung Jung or Cub Swanson as possible opponents. While Elkins doesn’t have the biggest name in the featherweight division, it’s going to be hard to deny him the type of fight he’s looking for considering the run he’s enjoying.

3. Wearing it

Maybe it was Gian Villante’s penchant for throwing strikes with the intent of turning out his opponent’s lights. Maybe it was Patrick Cummins’ ability to take an indecent amount of abuse over the course of a fight. Whatever it was, there was something about the light heavyweight bout between Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) and Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) that made it feel like fans were in for a nasty fight.

By the end of the contest, Cummins’ right eye was swollen shut and a piece of gauze hung on the cut that opened on his head after an accidental first round headbutt. Despite looking far worse than Villante, Cummins walked away with a split-decision victory.

Cummins displayed his trademark toughness throughout the fight. He also set a career high in significant strikes landed with 86, while showing an improved defensive striking game.

4. Looking for the next test

When the bantamweight bout between Jimmie Rivera and Thomas Almeida came to an end, the striking numbers were awfully similar. Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) landed 70 significant strikes while Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) landed 72, with both fighters connecting on 43 percent of their attempts. The difference was in the knockdowns, takedowns and octagon control – three aspects of the contest where Rivera had the advantage, knocking down Almeida twice while landing two takedowns on his way to the unanimous decision win.

Rivera has somewhat quietly climbed the rankings, and he’s now on a 20-fight winning streak, with the last five of those wins coming in the UFC. Despite his under-the-radar rise, Rivera is hopeful his win over Almeida will earn him a title shot or a fight against a former champ sometime around November.

5. Holding back

When Lyman Good plopped down on his stool at the end of the second round of his welterweight fight against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, his coaches asked him why he was holding back. Good’s response did not go over well.

“I don’t want to get knocked out,” Good said.

That reluctance to fully engage his opponent might have cost Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) the fight. Two judges scored the bout in favor of Santos (17-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC), giving him the split-decision win and extending his UFC winning streak to three straight.

With the loss, Good, fighting for the first time in two years due to an injury and a tainted-supplement-related suspension, saw his six-fight unbeaten streak come to an end. One positive for Good is the exciting striking battle did win “Fight of the Night” honors, earning both fighters an extra $50,000.

6. Short notice, shorter fight

Eryk Anders made some news at the official weigh-in for UFC on FOX 25, when he touched the towel being held in front of him while he stood on the scale, much to the chagrin of the New York State Athletic Commission. Anders made more positive news on fight night when he scored a first-round knockout in his UFC debut, putting away Rafael Natal with left hands to the head.

Anders (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), the former LFA middleweight champ, took the fight against the much more experienced Natal (21-9-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) on short notice. Anders made the most of his opportunity, landing 79 percent of his significant strikes on his way to his eighth straight win. After the fight, Anders put the rest of the middleweight division on notice.

“I’m ready to take over this middleweight division, and any middleweight (is) getting the same treatment (as Natal),” Anders told UFC commentator Brian Stann.

7. Eat your words

Some fighters are wound tight as a spring. Alex Oliveira is not one of those fighters. The Brazilian dances and sings on his way to the cage, and between rounds he shares smiles and jokes with his corner. While he fights, Oliveira remains extraordinarily loose and relaxed. Oliveira’s personality seemed to rub Stann the wrong way early in his fight against Ryan LaFlare.

“There’s a point where you’re too loose,” said Stann between the first and second rounds. “You’re too friendly; you’re having too much fun. You’ve got to get down to business if you want to win a fight.”

Less than two minutes later, Oliveira (18-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) ended the welterweight bout with a brutal uppercut that dropped LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) face-first onto the canvas.

After the fight, Stann owned up to his remarks, telling Oliveira he proved him wrong with the “Performance of the Night” winning knockout.

8. A score to settle

Marlon Vera extended his unbeaten streak to three straight with a first-round submission win over the favored Brian Kelleher in Long Island. The end came when Vera (10-3-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) quickly transitioned from a standing kimura to an armbar when Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) decided to take the fight to the mat while Vera remained latched to his arm.

After his win, Vera reminded everyone he had unfinished business with Jimmie Rivera who withdrew from a fight against Vera early this year.

“Me and Rivera got business,” Vera said. “I don’t know what happened. He just backed out (of the fight), because he said he was too much for me in January. It was really tough for me because I cut 15 pounds in two days for that fight. I wanted to be in the gym or be in the sauna because I was super motivated to fight a tough guy.”

9. Passing grade

Junior Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) accomplished two significant feats at UFC on FOX 25. The first, scoring a TKO victory in his UFC debut against a heavyweight fighter with UFC experience in Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC). The second, taking home a “Performance of the Night” bonus.

“I was never able to buy her a toy or something like that,” Albini said of his 2-year old daughter after his win. “All of her toys were like shampoos, empty bottles, because we didn’t have much money. My wife was following my dream, too, together, so it means a lot to me right now that I can make a living and give back to them what they suffered together with me – the pursuing of this dream.”

With his TKO victory Albini extended his unbeaten streak to 10 straight, with eight of those wins coming by stoppage.

10. Local boy makes good

Godofredo Pepey did his best to goad Shane Burgos into a brawl and/or a grappling match, but Burgos refused to bite. Instead, the featherweight prospect stayed calm and used excellent striking, especially his counters, to pick apart Pepey on the feet.

Burgos (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) dropped Pepey (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) three times, and had he gone to the body earlier and more often, he might have managed to get the stoppage he desired instead of a unanimous decision.

Burgos, a New York-based fighter, has fought on three UFC cards in his home state, and judging by the crowd’s response to his efforts, he’s become a local favorite.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman escalate Twitter beef after UFC on FOX 25

UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former champ Chris Weidman went one more round on Twitter following Weidman’s win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25.

Weidman, who called Bisping a “British bum” in his post-win speech, quickly responded to Bisping’s Twitter response, calling the champ a “cross-eyed (expletive).”

Naturally, that didn’t go over well.

“Your (sic) a (expletive) piece of (expletive),” Bisping responded. “Mocking a fight injury. Well I pray you don’t suffer the same. And (expletive) you pussy. When I see you, it’s on.”

Seeing he’d hit a nerve, Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) of course didn’t let up. He shot back a video of Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) tearing up the Cuban flag during Yoel Romero’s (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) failed interim title bid against newly minted champ Robert Whittaker (18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) at UFC 213.

Weidman added, “wait, I’m the (expletive).”

“According to the fans yes,” wrote Bisping. “😂 (expletive) me your desperate. No one likes you bro. Yes no one likes me either, but I don’t give a (expletive). Ur so needy.”

“Everyone loves me,” Weidman replied.

Bisping, who’s recovering from knee surgery, then took aim at Weidman’s post-fight declaration that he is the “real” champion.

“‘Im the champion’😂 u sounded so pathetic,” wrote Bisping. “Jealousy is one of the deadly sins. Shame on U. On your knees and pray harder (expletive).”

For all the beefing online, it’s just a bookmark for a future fight. When he gets healthy, Bisping is set for a title unification bout against interim champ Whittaker, who himself is recovering from a knee injury and may not be ready to fight until 2018.

In the meantime, Weidman would love to talk his way into a title fight. But after snapping a three-fight losing skid in this past Saturday’s FOX-televised headliner, he’ll likely have to wait.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Chris Weidman and UFC on FOX 25's other winning fighters?

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Filed under: News, UFC

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What next for UFC on FOX 25’s losing fighters?)

Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 main event had an important impact on the middleweight division. Former champ Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) put himself back in the mix as a relevant player in the weight class with a third-round submission of Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC)

“All-American” wasn’t the only one to get a meaningful victory at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. In the FOX-televised co-main event, Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) strengthened his featherweight contender status, Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) won another grueling fight, and Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) shut down a hyped up-and-comer in the network-televised opener.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC on FOX 25’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jimmie Rivera

Dominick Cruz

Should fight: Dominick Cruz
Why they should fight: Rivera pushed his winning streak to a remarkable 20 consecutive fights when he defeated bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida by unanimous decision.

Rivera’s nearly nine-year run without a loss continued when he handed a rare defeat to the Brazilian, providing the 135-pound division with further notice that he’s coming for the title. Rivera has had some bad luck with injuries and fight cancellations, but he hopes the latest win secures no less than a No. 1 contender fight.

Immediately following his win, Rivera targeted former UFC champ Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who was calling the action from cageside. “The Dominator” hasn’t fought since losing the 135-pound belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, and with Garbrandt pegged to defend against T.J. Dillashaw next, setting up a fight between Rivera and Cruz would be perfect for the advancement of the division.

Patrick Cummins

Jared Cannonier

Should fight: Jared Cannonier
Why they should fight: Cummins’ up-and-down UFC career once again took an upward turn when he scored a split-decision win over Gian Villante in a hard-fought light heavyweight matchup.

Until Cummins can put together a big run, he’s going to remain relegated to mid-tier 205-pound matchups. That’s a perfectly fine role for now, especially because he’s likely to get more chances to break into the elite going forward.

Cummins’ wrestling is going to be a big threat against any opponent he fights. He’s struggled against hard hitters, though, and Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) matches the power of anyone in the weight class. Cannonier has had difficulty with grapplers during his career, so the danger of the matchup would go both ways.

Darren Elkins

Ricardo Lamas

Should fight: Winner of Ricardo Lamas vs. Jason Knight at UFC 214
Why they should fight: Elkins once again pulled off a huge victory when he went into hostile territory and defeated Dennis Bermudez in a crucial featherweight bout.

Elkins pushed his winning streak to five when he earned a split-decision win over Bermudez in the co-main event affair, setting himself up for more big things in the future.

With the top of the division locked up with a number of potential title-fight scenarios, Elkins is going to need to put in even more work to get in the conversation as a realistic challenger to champ Max Holloway. He’s already on the best run of his UFC tenure, and a victory over the winner of the UFC 214 bout between Lamas (17-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) and Knight (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) would elevate his position even more.

Chris Weidman

Should fight: Ronaldo Souza
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Weidman should fight Ronaldo Souza (24-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC on FOX 25 post-event facts: Despite 1-3 run, Chris Weidman's resume still pretty darn good

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Chris Weidman’s grappling prowess was again on display at UFC on FOX 25. “All-American” rebounded from a three-fight skid when he grounded and submitted Kelvin Gastelum in Saturday’s FOX-televised main event at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y.

Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) returned to the win column after more than two years when he finished Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) with a third-round submission that will likely set up another important fight for the former UFC middleweight champion.

The main event wasn’t the only result of note at the UFC’s Long Island debut. For more, check below for 55 post-event facts to come out of UFC on FOX 25.

* * * *

General

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $140,000.

Debuting fighters went 2-0 at the event.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Lyman Good, Alex Oliveira and Junior Albini earned $50,000 UFC on FOX 25 fight-night bonuses. UFC Fight Night 99 in November 2017 was last event without any main-card bonus winners.

UFC on FOX 25 drew an announced attendance of 11,918 for a live gate of $1,088,332.

Betting favorites went 6-7 on the card. More underdogs than favorites won for the first time since UFC Fight Night 101 in November.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:28:38.

* * * *

Main card

Chris Weidman

Weidman improved to 5-0 in UFC headliners.

Weidman snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since May 2015.

Weidman became the eighth fighter in UFC history to earn 10 middleweight victories.

Weidman has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by stoppage.

Weidman’s seven stoppage victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (11), Nate Marquardt (nine) and Chris Leben (eight).

Weidman’s seven stoppage victories since 2011 in UFC middleweight competition are most among active fighters in the weight class.

Weidman has out-struck his opponent in all 10 of his UFC victories.

Weidman has completed at least one takedown in all 13 of his UFC appearances.

Weidman’s 36 takedowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Rafael Natal for most in divisional history.

Kelvin Gastelum

Gastelum fell to 0-2 (with one no-contest) in UFC headliners.

Gastelum fell to 2-1 (with one no-contest) since he moved up to the UFC middleweight division in December. He’s 3-1 (with one no-contest) in the organization at 185 pounds.

Gastelum suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Gastelum has landed six knockdowns in his past five fights.

Darren Elkins

Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) improved to 12-3 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in June 2011.

Elkins’ 12 UFC featherweight victories are second most in divisional history behind champ Max Holloway (13).

Elkins’ five-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Holloway (10).

Elkins has earned 10 of his 13 UFC victories by decision.

Elkins has landed 1,511 total strikes in UFC featherweight competition, the most in divisional history.

Elkins’ 35 takedowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Dennis Bermudez (38).

Elkins’ 20 submission attempts in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dennis Bermudez (16-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) fell to 2-4 in his past six UFC appearances.

Bermudez suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Patrick Cummins

Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) improved to 2-3 in his past five UFC appearances.

Cummins has earned four of his six UFC victories by decision.

Gian Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his past seven UFC appearances.

Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) extended his winning streak to 20 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since November 2008.

Jimmie Rivera

Rivera’s 20-fight winning streak in MMA competition is second longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24).

Rivera’s five-fight UFC winning streak in bantamweight competition is tied with champ Cody Garbrandt for the longest active streak in the division.

Rivera has earned 15 of his 21 career victories by decision. That includes four of his five UFC wins.

Thomas Almeida (21-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Preliminary card

Lyman Good and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

Good (19-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Rafael Natal (22-8-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss, the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since January 2016.

Natal has suffered six of his nine career losses by knockout.

Oliveira (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) improved to 5-1 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Oliveira has earned 14 of his 17 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his seven UFC wins.

Ryan LaFlare (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Chase Sherman

Chase Sherman (11-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) earned the first decision victory of his career.

Sherman has landed a combined 214 significant strikes in his past two UFC appearances.

Damian Grabowski (22-5 MMA, 0-3 UFC) suffered his first decision loss since Sept. 16, 2010 – a span of 2,501 days (nearly seven years) and 11 fights.

Jeremy Kennedy (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has earned all three of his UFC victories by decision.

Kennedy has completed 21 total takedowns in his three UFC appearances.

Kyle Bochniak (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Brian Kelleher (17-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all five of his career stoppage losses by submission.

Junior Albini

Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned 12 of his 14 career victories by stoppage.

Timothy Johnson (11-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses over his six-fight UFC career.

Johnson suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Frankie Perez (10-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) fell to 0-2 since he came out of retirement in December.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Chris Weidman claims he's the best, though he's not – or is he? Here's where it gets complicated

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

For Chris Weidman, the nightmare is over. At least for now. Three straight losses, each a different variety of combat sports heartbreak, like some black cloud trailing him on his fall down the middleweight ranks.

Then at NYCB LIVE at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night, Weidman(14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) latched onto an arm-triangle choke against Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the UFC on FOX 25 main event, and you could feel the sun breaking through.

One win. It didn’t come easy and it wasn’t for a title. It wasn’t even against an established middleweight, but so what?

In front of a hometown crowd in Uniondale, N.Y., Weidman walked into the fight that he absolutely could not lose, and then he got put on his butt in the first round. To get up and win after that, it might just be the stuff that career resurrections are made of. Certainly Weidman seems to think so.

“I’m the champ,” Weidman said after his win. “I’m the best guy in the world, and I think people know that.”

For the sake of context, it’s important to note that he had been talking about Michael Bisping at the time. As in, the same Bisping who is the current owner of the UFC middleweight title, which he took from Luke Rockhold, who in turn took it from Weidman.

There’s no confusion about that process. All those title exchanges came in fights that were violently and unambiguously ended by their victors without controversy or question. Weidman is not the champ anymore – at least not of the UFC’s middleweight division. But could he be? That’s where it gets tricky.

As of a few days ago, the book on Weidman told the tale of a flawless rise and sudden fall. He didn’t lose at all until he did, and then he couldn’t win. Now he’s beaten a former welterweight, and he wants us to believe he’s the best again, or maybe even that he never stopped being the best, those three straight losses notwithstanding, and who’s to say that might not be true under the right circumstances?

This is a consequence of having a stacked middleweight division, but also of having a current champ who somehow still seems unproven after more than a decade in the UFC.

The top five or six fighters at 185 pounds right now are all good enough that, on any given night, it’s feasible that anybody could beat anybody else. And they all seem to regard Bisping as easy pickings, making it a race to see who can get to him first.

Enter Weidman, who’s 1-3 in his past four and yet somehow asking for a title shot. His reasoning? The current top contender and interim champ, Robert Whittaker, is clearly more deserving but also likely sidelined with a knee injury until 2018. And with Bisping in desperate need of a real title defense to legitimize his reign, preferably soon, why not at least toss his name in the hat?

It sounds like a long shot until you think about it for 30 seconds. Crazier things have happened, especially in the UFC and especially lately.

That’s why the question of who the best is starts to feel like one where the answer shifts depending on how you ask it. The guy with the main belt? He’d likely be an underdog in a fight with any of his top five peers. The guy with the other belt? He’d likely be the favorite, even if he’s not up to it at the moment.

So who’s the best? That’s the part we haven’t sorted out yet. And in the confusion and chaos, a former champ like Weidman – who hit a tough skid but in exactly the way that could happen to anyone in this talent-rich weight class – might as well stake his claim. At the very least he might succeed in baiting someone at the top into trying to prove him wrong.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Eventssection of the site.

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UFC on FOX 25 Athlete Outfitting pay: Headliners combine for $20,000 payout

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UNIONDALE, N.Y – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC on FOX 25 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $140,000.

UFC on FOX 25 took place at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y., and the card aired on FOX following early prelims UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were a pair of longtime octagon veterans. Darren Elkins (23-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC), who beat Dennis Bermudez in the co-main event, and Rafael Natal (22-8-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC), who lost to Eryk Anders on the preliminary card, each received $15,000 for their 17th UFC appearance.

The full UFC on FOX 25 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Chris Weidman: $10,000
def. Kelvin Gastelum: $10,000

Darren Elkins: $15,000
def. Dennis Bermudez: $10,000

Patrick Cummins: $5,000
def. Gian Villante: $10,000

Jimmie Rivera: $2,500
def. Thomas Almeida: $5,000

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: $2,500
def. Lyman Good: $2,500

Eryk Anders: $2,500
def. Rafael Natal: $15,000

Alex Oliveira: $5,000
def. Ryan LaFlare: $5,000

Damian Grabowski: $2,500
def. Chase Sherman: $2,500

Jeremy Kennedy: $2,500
def. Kyle Bochniak: $2,500

Marlon Vera: $5,000
def. Brian Kelleher: $2,500

Junior Albini: $2,500
def. Timothy Johnson: $5,000

Shane Burgos: $2,500
def. Godofredo Pepey: $5,000

Chris Wade: $5,000
def. Frankie Perez: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $3,330,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $13,653,000

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie