Chris Weidman is back in the win column.
The former UFC middleweight champion had seemed to be in a career freefall over the past couple years, as he lost three consecutive fights and was on the wrong end of bad finishes in all of them.
On Saturday night at UFC on FOX 25, though, Weidman turned things around.
In front of an emotional hometown crowd at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Weidman weathered adversity and finished Kelvin Gastelum. An arm-triangle choke did the trick at 3:45 of the third round in their main event fight.
“Keep doubting me, people,” Weidman (14-3) said. “I know Long Island ain’t doubting me. Keep doubt me, I beg you, keep doubting me.”
Weidman was well in control of the bulk of the opening round, as he beat Gastelum in both the standup and on the ground. At one point, he got Gastelum in a deep Kimura, and it’s to Gastelum’s credit that he escaped.
Gastelum, however, likely stole the round and nearly won the fight by clobbering Weidman with a wicked left hand and dropping him. Weidman was saved by the bell as Gastelum poured it on.
Weidman, though, regained his bearing in the second round and picked up where he left off, outwrestling Gastelum and smothering him on the mat.
Gastelum came out with a sense of urgency in the third and began winging wild punches. Weidman stayed patient and kept up the pressure until he again got him to the mat. This time, he worked into position for the arm triangle. While Gastelum put up a valint effort fighting it, he ultimate had to tap.
Weidman (14-3) brought his family into the cage with him to celebrate his first victory since his May 23, 2015 win over Vitor Beflort.
Gastelum (14-3, 1 NC) lost for the first time since moving up to middleweight.