UFC on Fox 25 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
UFC on Fox 25 hit Long Island, New York, on Saturday, and former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman finally got back in the win column.
After nearly getting finished in the first round, Weidman rebounded and finished the fight in the third. Kelvin Gastelum showed up big in the main event, but Weidman's ground game was simply too much for The Ultimate Fighter winner.
In the co-main event, Darren Elkins served the MMA world a slice of humble pie as he toppled Dennis Bermudez for his fifth straight win. Elkins is poised to break through after years of grinding out his opponents.
What about the other 11 fights on the card? What's next for the winners and losers? Buckle up because that's the journey we are about to take. Sit back and enjoy the ride as we book the next fights for each of the 26 competitors on UFC on Fox 25.
Preliminary Fights' Quick Hits
Chris Wade def. Frankie Perez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Frankie Perez vs. Stevie Ray
- Chris Wade vs. winner of Alvaro Herrera vs. Jordan Rinaldi (August 5)
Shane Burgos def. Godofredo Pepey by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)
- Godofredo Pepey vs. Dennis Bermudez
- Shane Burgos vs. Gray Maynard
Junior Albini def. Timothy Johnson by TKO at 2:51 of the first round
- Timothy Johnson vs. Damian Grabkowski
- Junior Albini vs. Marcin Tybura
Marlon Vera def. Brian Kelleher via submission (armbar) at 2:18 of the first round
- Brian Kelleher vs. loser of Alejandro Perez vs. Andre Soukhamthath (August 5)
- Marlon Vera vs. Brett Johns
Jeremy Kennedy def. Kyle Bochniak by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Kyle Bochniak vs. Michel Quinones
- Jeremy Kennedy vs. winner of Andre Fili vs. Calvin Kattar (July 29)
Chase Sherman def. Damian Grabkowski by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Damian Grabkowski vs. Timothy Johnson
- Chase Sherman vs. Justin Willis
Alex Oliveira def. Ryan LaFlare by KO at 1:50 of the second round
- Ryan LaFlare vs. Gunnar Nelson
- Alex Oliveira vs. Galore Bofando
Eryk Anders def. Rafael Natal by KO at 2:54 of the first round
- Rafael Natal should be cut from the roster.
- Eryk Anders vs. Trevor Smith
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Lyman Good by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Lyman Good vs. Brian Camozzi
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Belal Muhammad
Thomas Almeida vs. Jimmie Rivera
Jimmie Rivera def. Thomas Almeida by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-27)
If you weren't a believer before (and I wasn't), then you must be a believer now. Jimmie Rivera demands it. He proved that his ascent in the bantamweight division was no fluke and he is very much in the hunt.
He may be the most unheralded Top Five fighter in the entire company. To illustrate that point, he took it to Thomas Almeida for 15 straight minutes en route to the unanimous-decision victory. There was no doubt who the better, more technical fighter was inside the cage.
Almeida needs a hard reset in the division. He gets hit far too often, and the tendency to get wild is a big problem against the elite of the division. Rani Yahya would make for a fine opponent. Yahya is someone who is good enough to keep testing Almeida but isn't too much of a threat on the feet. Allow Almeida to grow.
Rivera, on the other hand, is ready for contention—true contention.
He called out Dominick Cruz during his post-fight interview on Fox, and that's the fight to make. And it should be a title eliminator. Plain and simple. And easy. Book it.
Patrick Cummins vs. Gian Villante
Patrick Cummins def. Gian Villante by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Just like every other Patrick Cummins fight, this one was ugly too. Gian Villante looked to have it under control, but he couldn't keep Cummins from pressuring him. It was a rather poor showing from Villante, who failed once again to take the next step.
Villante should just be put in slugfests from here on out. No one is more appropriate than Steve Bosse.
Cummins is in a tough spot. The division is thin, but he's clearly not the caliber to leap into big fights. At least not yet. So, how does the UFC navigate that situation? Stick him in the cage against Misha Cirkunov.
Cirkunov is coming off a loss, but he is still ranked ahead of Cummins (by three spots, at No. 9). This would give Cummins another ranked opponent but allow Cirkunov a chance to prove himself in a rebuilding match. It would serve both fighters well while not jamming the division with matches that go nowhere. At least this goes somewhere.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Darren Elkins
Darren Elkins def. Dennis Bermudez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Similar to Jimmie Rivera, Darren Elkins silenced his critics with another victory. A fifth straight victory for Elkins puts him in the mix after another workmanlike performance.
Dennis Bermudez may have watched his final shot at being a Top 10 fighter slip away with the loss. But we truly won't know until his next fight. Dooho Choi should be that next opponent. Stylistically, it'd a great fight for the fans. For the division, it'd move the winner into prime position for a Top 10 fight.
Elkins has earned a legitimate contender's fight. Put him against Jose Aldo.
Ricardo Lamas will fight Jason Knight on July 29, and the winners of these two fights give the UFC options for what to do after Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar. In fact, it would give them insurance should Edgar get injured. Elkins deserves this chance, and going against Aldo is the biggest chance he could get without going for gold.
Let's see what The Damage really has.
Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Chris Weidman def. Kelvin Gastelum via submission (arm triangle) at 3:46 of the third round
Chris Weidman was nearly finished for a fourth straight fight, but he rebounded to avoid that dubious result. Instead, Weidman recovered and finished Gastelum. Weidman began to look like his old self in the second and third rounds.
Gastelum didn't look bad either. He just got caught. He still looks like a viable contender at 185 pounds.
Unfortunately, per Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting at the post-fight presser, Gastelum is still eyeing a fight at 170 pounds next. After showing everyone he struggles to make the weight numerous times, he still wants to go back down. I refuse to pick a fight for him at that weight.
At 185, Gastelum should fight Thiago Santos. A lot of the middleweights are booked and it's a good contest to elevate the winner into the hunt once again. Santos has earned it and he's a suitable opponent for Gastelum.
Weidman made an interesting post-fight call out himself. In the cage, Weidman called out Michael Bisping. Well, that's not going to happen. Coming off three straight losses knockout and getting a win over Gastelum doesn't equate to a title shot. Sorry.
But it does give him a right to be in a big fight as a former dominant champion in the division. Jacare Souza is the biggest name floating out there that doesn't represent a rematch. It'd be a compelling fight too. As Bisping has his hands full with Robert Whittaker and potentially GSP or Yoel Romero, Weidman can take his time and set himself up for a title shot in 2018.