The 25th UFC on Fox card will take place this Saturday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The evening will be headlined by a New York native when former middleweight champion Chris Weidman represents his state against Kelvin Gastelum, who won The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen.
Since holding the UFC middleweight championship for three fights, Weidman (13-3) has since lost three in a row - all by TKO. That's a concern. The only good news is that his most recent loss to Gegard Mousasi in July was controversial as he lost via what he thought were illegal knees. Gastelum (13-2, 1 NC) defeated Vitor Belfort in March but was suspended for a failed drug test for marijuana following the fight. Gastelum has had a rocky road in the UFC, missing weight twice as a welterweight, but he has the skills to be a good fighter with five TKO/KO wins and four via submission.
Weidman will be looking to recreate the magic that saw him defeat the legendary Anderson Silva twice. He needs a win in the worst way to change around his momentum. He's posted as a +125 dog for this bout, though, while Gastelum is favored at -155.
Another New York native will be on the card as Dennis Bermudez (16-6) takes on Darren Elkins (22-5) at featherweight. Bermudez is looking to bounce back from his third loss in five fights. All three of those losses came via stoppage (two TKOs, one submission), but he has some impressive wins on his resume. Most notably, he topped current champion Max Holloway back in 2013. Elkins has won four in a row, including a head-kick TKO over Mirsad Bektic in March. Elkins has eight wins via knockout and Bermudez would do well to try and nullify Elkins' power advantage. However, Elkins is also a strong wrestler.
Bermudez may be struggling but he's still a -250 favorite for this bout. The general perception is that he's faced much tougher competition than Elkins has so far. That's why Elkins is a +195 underdog.
Patrick Cummins (9-4) and Gian Villante (15-8) will clash in a battle of light heavyweights. Villante is another New Yorker on this card who is hoping to have the home audience give him a charge. Cummins has lost three of his last five and all four of his career losses have come via knockout. Villante has also been knocked out four times, including by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in March, and he has also lost three of his last five. It would be a major surprise if this fight went all three rounds as both men have shown a bit of a glass jaw. That's why we see such an even moneyline as Cummins is priced at -120 while Villante is at -110.
Bantamweights Jimmie Rivera (20-1) and Thomas Almeida (22-1) will open the main card in what could be the best fight of the night. Both men have been tipped for big things in this division in the future, but Almeida might have the edge because he already has 17 knockout wins. He has explosive power, and his only loss has come to current champion Cody Garbrandt, so that is encouraging.
However, Rivera, who hails from New Jersey, is a tough customer who is well-rounded and actually ranked higher in the bantamweight division than Almeida. He's fifth while Almeida is ninth. A win for either would put them in the conversation for a title shot in a surprisingly loaded division.