The UFC returns to Fox with a loaded card featuring quite the theme, as it is going to be “New York vs. The World.” The event is going to be headlined by a middleweight division fight as Chris Weidman is in action against Kelvin Gastelum. Also, Dennis Bermudez faces Darren Elkins and a pair of top level bantamweights are in action as well.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
“All American” Chris Weidman (13-3-0) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (13-2-0-1NC)
Weidman is going to enter the fight on a three fight losing streak, dropping fights to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. Gastelum is currently undefeated in the middleweight division, earning victories over Tim Kennedy and Nate Marquardt. Weidman is also a former UFC Middleweight Champion, defeating Anderson Silva at UFC 162 to win the gold. Gastelum was the winner of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 17, defeating Uriah Hall in the reality show finals.
Prediction: Weidman will look good early on with his wrestling and striking, but he has tended to tire quickly in his last few fights and that will allow Gastelum to finish him with strikes in the third round.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez (16-6-0) vs. Darren “The Damage” Elkins (22-5-0)
Bermudez has won just two of his last five fights under the UFC banner, with those two victories coming over Tatsuya Kawajiri and Rony Jason. Elkins will enter this fight on the strength of a four fight winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in almost three years. Bermudez was a finalist on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 14, but he lost to Diego Brandao in the reality show finals. Elkins has been competing in the UFC for over seven years now, winning a total of 12 fights in the promotion.
Prediction: The fighters both have excellent ground games and Bermudez has the edge with submissions, but Elkins holds Bermudez down for three rounds to earn a decision win.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Patrick “Durkin” Cummins (9-4-0) vs. Gian Villante (15-8-0)
Cummins has won just one of his last three fights in his UFC tenure, with that lone victory coming over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 210. Villante has rotated wins and losses in his last six UFC appearances, with his last bout being a loss to Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 106. Cummins has only seen three of his nine bouts in the UFC go the distance, all of those others fights in the UFC ended by KO/TKO. Villante has only defeated one ranked UFC fighter during his tenure in the promotion, that ranked fighter he defeated was Corey Anderson.
Prediction: This one is going to be a slugfest from bell to bell, but Villante has the better boxing and he gets the knockout in round one.
UFC Bantamweight Division Fight
Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera (20-1-0) vs. Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida (21-1-0)
Rivera has already earned four victories under the UFC banner, defeating Marcus Brimage, Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcantara and Urijah Faber. Almeida has won five of six fights in the UFC and he is entering this fight having won just one of his last two. Rivera also competed twice in Bellator MMA, defeating Brian Kelleher and Jesse Brock by unanimous decision. Almeida is also a former MMA Super Heroes Bantamweight Champion, a title he gave up when he signed with the UFC.
Prediction: Almeida is a wild striker who continues to come forward no matter what and Rivera has a great ground game, Rivera earns a split decision win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Lyman Good over Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos
Rafael Natal over Eryk Anders
Ryan LaFlare over Alex Oliveira
Chase Sherman over Damian Grabowski
Jeremy Kennedy over Kyle Bochniak
Marlon Vera over Brian Kelleher
Timothy Johnson over Junior Albini
Godofredo Pepey over Shane Burgos
Frankie Perez over Chris Wade
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