The atmosphere inside the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum was electric as Chris Weidman made his way to the octagon. By the end of the night, the roof blew off the place. The Baldwin, NY native ended a three-fight losing streak in front of his friends and family tonight at UFC on Fox 25 by beating Kelvin Gastelum.
Oh, what a homecoming.
Coming into tonight, there was much debate as to what would become of Chris Weidman. With a loss, we could have seen the end of his career. As previously reported, he still believed he had enough gas in the tank. He put aside any doubt and focused on gaining any momentum he could. Before the fight began, he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. It wasn’t surprising considering his walkout songs; I’m Coming Home, Empire State of Mind and of course, Won’t Back Down.
Weidman (14-3) was hot right out of the gate, hitting Gastelum (13–3 (1)) with everything he had. The former Middleweight Champion was working a wrestling-heavy offense. At one point he even had a kimura lock on Gastelum but to no avail. Fans held their breath as Gastelum hit Weidman with a vicious shot that almost knocked him out with 15 seconds left in the first round. The “All-American” however got right back up and finished the round.
The second round was all Weidman as he took Gastelum to takedown city. While the round was a slow paced one, it gave Weidman a huge advantage in regards to grappling.
The third round was a slugfest between two dominant fighters. Weidman took over after the two were busy trading blows. He hit a vicious right before taking out Gastelum with an arm-triangle choke at the 3:45 mark. It was quite a site to see along with the crowd of over 11,000 rooting him on.
With his family in the ring with him, Chris Weidman thanked the Long Island crowd for supporting him every step of the way. He pleaded for people to still doubt him. In an interesting move, he also called out the “British bum” Michael Bisping, demanding a title match. It is definitely interesting considering Bisping has a long list of contenders ahead of him. He has Yoel Romero, the interim Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker and Weidman. Bisping seems up for the challenge however, so anything can happen. Maybe a fight in November back at Madison Square Garden is on the table.
Weidman then left the cage and celebrated with his peers. An after-party is awaiting the hero of the night as we speak. The night started and ended with two Long Island fighters getting the win. In fact, Chris Wade (12-3) and Weidman were the only two from the area to win tonight.
Is this the return of the “old” Chris Weidman. It’s hard to say, but for now the Long Island faithful can rest easy. After tonight, we know Weidman will.