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UFC on FOX 25 results: Chris Weidman survives early knockdown, submits Kelvin Gastelum

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Chris Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum, Middleweight contenders at the crossroads of opposite career paths, met tonight (Sat., July 22, 2017) at UFC on FOX 25: "Weidman vs. Gastelum," which took place inside Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Weidman had fallen far from his 185-pound perch, dropping three straight to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. Instead of taking a tune-up fight, he faced the rising Gastelum. The 25-year-old Gastelum, finally forced north from Welterweight because of continual weight management issues, had beaten Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort, though the Belfort win was later overturned due to Gastelum testing positive for marijuana.

His weight-cutting issue and marijuana violations aside, Gastelum has developed into a promising Middleweight contender, while Weidman has struggled to find the form that had once made him the world’s greatest. This fight represented an opportunity for both men: A win would catapult Gastelum into title contendership, while a win for Weidman would reaffirm his relevance at the top of the division. It also represented a danger, particularly to Weidman, as four in a row would raise the specter of the axe, and call his future into serious question.

Fortunately for the home town fans and his supporters, Weidman won’t have to reckon with four straight losses.

The crowd swelled in support of “All American,” as Bruce Buffer called his name. They touched gloves respectfully. Gastelum came out with hands high. Weidman looked much taller, and looked to set up his left hook over Gastelum’s lead hand. Weidman threw a rear leg high kick off the arms of Gastelum. Weidman lanced a straight right down the middle, connecting. Weidman connected again, and when Gastelum drove forward, Weidman ducked under for a single leg, dumping Gastelum to the canvas. Gastelum got to his base and worked to his feet, but Weidman held the bodylock, slammed him once, and then took him down with a roll into side control. It was a great start for Weidman, who had the crowd chanting his name as he looked for a kimura from top position. Gastelum avoided the kimura attempt and got back to his feet. Weidman moved forward. Gastelum slammed a high kick into Chris’ guard. Weidman threw a left hook as Gastelum exploded forward, but ate Gastelum’s left straight and sat down hard. Gastelum swarmed, looking for hammerfists, but Weidman tied him up until the round ended.

Gastelum had tasted his speed advantage, and threw a combination that fell just short. Weidman dinged a left hook into his temple as Gastelum moved forward. Weidman connected on a right hand, and they clinched, ending up tied in a fifty-fifty exchange in the center of the cage. Weidman pushed Gastelum back and tripped him down. Gastelum tried to work his way back up against the cage. Weidman held him against the cage, landing shots from the ride, and threw Gastelum to all fours again. Gastelum stood up again. Weidman sucked his legs out from under him, putting Gastelum at last on the mat. Gastelum locked up his closed guard. Weidman looked to land elbows from the top while Gastelum tied up his arms. He didn’t land anything heavy, but he passed the guard as the round wore down, taking Gastelum’s back before the bell.

The third round opened with a wild exchange, with Gastelum slipping to the mat briefly. Weidman threw up a high kick. Gastelum ate a combination from Weidman, bobbing and weaving to avoid the flurry. He lanced Weidman with his jab, then hit a right hand. Weidman ducked for a single, but Gastelum nearly cartwheeled his way to freedom. Weidman drove for another takedown. Gastelum got up again, with Weidman keeping the rear body lock and kneeing the back of his legs. He got another takedown, and dragged Gastelum up and to his back. Gastelum regained his base, but was on the edge of giving up his back or the mount. On advice from his corner, Weidman suddenly went for a tight head-and-arm choke, and Gastelum tapped out! Weidman by submission!

Weidman climbed the cage and paced outside, deeply emotional. He celebrated with his team, no smile, just vindication. As the crowd roared in support, he finally found his smile, hugging his sister and mother and kissing his wife. Brian Stann asked Weidman about showing people what it’s like to come back from adversity, and Weidman said to “screw what anyone else thinks.” He shouted out his team, and then looked straight at the camera, saying: “And, lastly. That British bum, who is crying in his home?? I’m back, baby! I’m back!” He said he knows Long Island never doubted him, but to everyone else: “Keep doubting me!”

Official result: Weidman def. Gastelum by submission (arm triangle) at 3:45 of round three

For complete UFC on FOX 25 results, including play-by-play updates, click here.