33-Year-Old UFC Middleweight 14-3-0
November 16, 2017 Chris Weidman News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Weidman (thumb) has been out since his win over Kelvin Gastelum in July but is hoping to return to action in early 2018, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Weidman gained a much needed win over Gastelum in Long Island this summer, but suffered a dislocated left thumb in the process. While he was initially told that he'd be back to fighting in six weeks following his surgery in September, he has yet to completely heal. The timeline for his return has been pushed back to early next year.
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Fantasy AnalysisAnd just like that, Weidman has snapped his three-fight losing streak and seemingly rehabilitated his status as an elite middleweight. Things got hairy at the end of Round 1 when Gastelum clocked the former champ with a vicious left hand. Weidman may very well have been on his way to a fourth-straight loss had he not been saved by the bell, but it was a dominant effort besides that slight slip up. Weidman used his size advantage brilliantly. Knowing he was the much bigger man and could control the action in tight, Weidman landed seven takedowns in the fight. Weidman landed a few big shots on the feet here and there, but he smartly went right back to his grappling game time and time again. The former UFC Middleweight Champion is back.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a long shot for Weidman to see any change in the decision, as the New York State Athletic Commission had previously issued a statement to clarify that instant replay had been legally used to determine that Mousasi's fight-ending knees were legal. Though Weidman believes he could have kept going in the fight, the bout was ultimately called off by Dan Miragliotta to award Mousasi the win via TKO. With the loss officially behind him, Weidman can now wipe the slate clean in advance of his upcoming July 22 matchup against Kelvin Gastelum. A New York native, Weidman will once again have to deal with the NYSAC, as the bout is scheduled to take place in Long Island.
Fantasy AnalysisDespite losing his past three bouts, Weidman sits No. 7 in the latest of USA Today's MMA middleweight rankings. However, it can't be ignored he hasn't come out victorious since May of 2015 and his competition, Gastelum, is on a three-fight winning streak including wins over Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy and Johny Hendricks.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was the understanding of Weidman and many other media outlets that instant reply was not an option at the disposal of officials in the state of New York, but the commission later clarified that this is, in fact, allowed. Since Weidman's appeal was based on the theory that referee Dan Miragliotta shouldn't have been able to use replay to overturn his original decision that Mousasi's knees were illegal, it appears Weidman no longer has a successful appeal case. The former champion's third consecutive loss looks as if it will be upheld, leaving the 32-year-old's next career move in limbo. It's an awfully long way back to the title picture for any fighter who is stopped on three consecutive outings -- even one of Weidman's pedigree.
Fantasy AnalysisAfter Mousasi landed multiple standing knees that appeared to be illegal to the naked eye, referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to call a violation. Replay later ruled that the knees were legal, though it's worth noting that in the state of New York, the referee isn't supposed to be able to turn to replay for a review. Nonetheless, the doctors stepped in and ruled Weidman unable to continue, despite his pleas otherwise. What the appeal boils down to is whether or not the commission violated state law in going to the replay to determine the knees were legal. Weidman seemingly has a case here, though regardless of the outcome, the former middleweight champion will likely continue to lobby for a rematch. He and UFC President Dana White may not see eye-to-eye, however, as according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, White said after the fight that Mousasi was already on his way to a win, and that he doesn't think a rematch is needed.
Fantasy AnalysisThis entire sequence of events is amongst the biggest disasters in recent memory. Weidman was dropped with a pair of knees, though while appearing to be illegal at first, proved to be legal on replay. Yet, according to UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, New York does not use replay. Essentially, referee Dan Miragliotta made a mistake. Weidman was by no means out cold and he was continuing to fight at the time Miragliotta stepped in. He also said he could continue, but the ringside doctors decided to waive off the bout. It was a disaster all the way around. Chris had a very good Round 1 on the strength of his wrestling, but he was absorbing way too much punishment (obviously) in Round 2. Perhaps the UFC will do a rematch between the two men. This set of circumstances solved absolutely nothing.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman, a loser of two fights in a row, is in desperate need of a victory on Saturday. There is no shame in losing back-to-back fights against Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, but it's difficult to fancy yourself as a title contender if you're riding a three-fight losing streak. Weidman should have a good chance to pull the upset here if he stays patient, but he is going to be in serious trouble if he tries to force the action against the methodical Mousasi.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman, the former UFC middleweight champion, has hit a bit of a rough patch in his career with back-to-back losses to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. The Romero loss was particularly devastating, as Weidman took a brutal flying knee to the head that resulted in a KO defeat. He'll look to get back on track against Mousasi, another strong wrestler that has been knocking on the door of the middleweight division for quite some time. Both fighters are fully capable of earning a stoppage victory, though the fight could end up going the distance if both elect to focus on grappling.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman took a vicious flying knee to the head in Saturday's defeat, so it's no surprise to see the New York State Athletic Commission mandate a minimum amount of time off. With the "All-American" now having suffered two straight defeats, the next step in the 32-year-old's professional fighting career remains a huge question mark.
Fantasy AnalysisIt must be absolutely heartbreaking for Weidman to come up short in a fight in which he waited his entire life for. Both men had their moments over the first two rounds in a fight that was likely tied at 19-19 heading into the final frame. Weidman remain committed to the takedown throughout the course of the contest and in the end, it ended up being his downfall. As he went for a shot early in Round 3, Romero unloaded with a flying knee that connected to Weidman's face and essentially caused his nose to explode. Some incompetent officiating by Mario Yamasaki resulted in Weidman absorbing a few extra shots, but the damage was already done. It was a bit of a fluky finish, but there was little doubt about the final result. Weidman has now lost back-to-back fights, the only two setbacks of his career.
Fantasy AnalysisNot only does Weidman get on the MSG card as he hoped, he also gets a high-ranked opponent who figures to be a pretty good matchup for him. As long as Weidman is able to survive what figures to be a fast start from Romero, he should be in good shape. This is Weidman's first appearance since he lost his UFC Middleweight Championship to Luke Rockhold last December, but it's hard to believe that we will see anything but his best effort in front of all his family and friends in New York.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman, a New York native, will get a chance to fight in front of his home crowd in the UFC's first ever trip to Madison Square Garden. He faces a tough task in Romero, who got a late start to his MMA career and is now 39 years old. Despite the age difference, Romero remains a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division, primarily due to his knockout power. He's won all seven of his UFC bouts, and nine of his 12 professional fights have ended via KO/TKO. Ring rust shouldn't be a factor in this bout, as neither Weidman nor Romero have entered the Octagon since UFC 194 on December 12, 2015. Weidman has been dealing with neck surgery and the ensuing rehab, while Romero has been serving a six-month suspension for a positive PED test, which he claimed was the result of a tainted supplement. Now presumably healthy, Weidman will enter a bout that provides him with a clear path to the middleweight strap. The winner here will either be granted the next title opportunity, or have to face the winner of a scheduled bout between Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman had multiple options to consider when selecting a doctor and surgery, but decided to go with the procedure that would be less invasive. With the neck issue hopefully in his past, Weidman plans to begin physical therapy and strength training immediately, and return to sparring in approximately six weeks. All along, his target return date has been a November event at the Madison Square Garden, and initial estimates are confirming that this is a reasonable possibility.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman described in a post on his Facebook page that an episode of vertigo triggered a trip to urgent care, where it was later discovered that the former middleweight champion had a large extrusion herniation. After seeing multiple specialists, Weidman elected to try an epidural instead of surgery, but that did not achieve the intended results. Now, he must elect either a disc removal that carries a 6-to-8 week recovery time, or spinal fusion surgery, which would put him on the shelf for roughly 12 weeks. After recovering, of course, Weidman would likely need time for a full fight camp. The "All-American" suffered his first professional lost when Luke Rockhold took his middleweight strap following a fourth-round TKO on Dec. 12, but now Weidman is hopeful he'll have a chance at redemption when the UFC heads to his home state of New York in November for an event at the Madison Square Garden.
Fantasy AnalysisShortly afterwards, Damon Martin of FOX Sports UFC confirmed the report. It's a tough break for Weidman, who was scheduled to get an immediate rematch after losing his middleweight title to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 on December 12. At this point, it's unclear how the UFC will handle the situation. No. 2 contender Jacare Souza just fought at UFC 198, and it's unlikely he'll be ready on just a few week's notice to replace Weidman in the event. It's also uncertain if Rockhold would accept that bout. The middleweight division then starts to thin out a bit, so it's possible Rockhold could end up facing a fighter outside the top-5. Furthermore, depending on the severity of Weidman's injury, the UFC could just push back this fight to UFC 200 or another later event. More information will be provided as it is released.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman was brutally defeated at the hands of Rockhold his last time out, as he was knocked out in the fourth round of a fight that could have easily been called in the third. Despite the shaky performance, Weidman believes he learned several significant lessons about his technique in this bout, and fully intends to correct his mistakes before June. It will surely be a challenge for Weidman, who is looking to avenge his first professional loss.
Fantasy AnalysisPerhaps he wouldn't have won anyway, but a ridiculous spinning wheel kick midway through Round 3 ensured that Weidman would suffer his first pro loss and as a result, lose his belt. Weidman likely won Round 1, with Rockhold taking Round 2. The third frame was clearly in favor of Weidman, but the kick attempt left him off balance and Rockhold dragged him to the ground and ultimately dominated from then on. Weidman was extremely fortunate to see the end of the third round and you could tell that he had nothing left by the time Round 4 started. The end result was Weidman being battered and bloodied, but the two fighters appeared to be remarkably evenly matched early on. Despite the loss, Weidman is pretty clearly still one of the two best middleweights in the world. Jacare Souza seems like a possibility for Weidman in his next bout. Chris should be the favorite if that fight takes place.
Fantasy AnalysisNo doubt remains of Weidman's stature within the UFC champion ranks; after a pair of bizarre victories over Anderson "The Spider" Silva, Weidman notched two resounding victories over Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Now defending his title against the 14-2 Luke Rockhold, the undefeated New Yorker will look at stake his claim against a former Strikeforce champion.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman v. Rockhold will be the co-main event on a card that is headlined by the featherweight title unification bout between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo. Obviously, Weidman and Rockhold could easily headline a card by themselves, but the UFC is going all in by scheduling two of their biggest fights on the same night. That night can't come soon enough.
Fantasy AnalysisWeidman ate a couple big shots from Belfort early but he recovered to get a takedown and then absolutely unloaded on Belfort on the ground. Weidman's ability to take punishment (which doesn't happen all that often) and still implement his game plan is remarkable. He's equally impressive on both the feet and the ground. Weidman still doesn't get the respect that some of the other huge stars in the UFC do, but it's coming. Luke Rockhold figures to be Weidman's next challenger, possibly in December at Madison Square Garden if they legalize MMA in New York this summer.