With his back against the wall, former UFC champion Chris Weidman delivered an outstanding performance in front of a hometown crowd Saturday night in Long Island. Weidman (14-3) submitted Kelvin Gastelum via arm-triangle at 3:45 of the third round in their middleweight main event at UFC Fight Night. It was the former champion’s first victory since May 2015. The event took place at Nassau Coliseum, down the street from Weidman’s alma mater, Hofstra University, and his current gym, LAW MMA. The 33-year-old was born and raised in Nassau County.

It was an emotional celebration for Weidman, who rose to the top of the sport with back-to-back wins over Anderson Silva in 2013. He defended the 185-pound title twice before surrendering it to Luke Rockhold in late 2015. The performance was vintage Weidman, as he easily took Gastelum (13-3) to the floor in all three rounds. The grappling standout threatened with a kimura attempt early and landed several hard elbows from top position in the second frame. His best work was done in the third, however, as he surprised Gastelum with a stinging right hand before dragging him to the ground and securing the choke.

Weidman did suffer a knockdown in the final 15 seconds of the opening round, but he quickly sat up and grabbed on to Gastelum. He did not appear close to being knocked out. Despite a 1-3 record in his past four bouts, Weidman wasted no time calling out current champion Michael Bisping, who has yet to fight this year due to a knee injury.

Gastelum, 25, looked calm throughout the bout, even though Weidman continually dragged him out of his comfort zone. In addition to the left hand with which he dropped Weidman early, he landed several good jabs but struggled to string together those bursts of offense. The loss marks Gastelum’s first since he dropped a split decision to Neil Magny in November 2015. Fighting out of Kings MMA in Southern California, Gastelum has bounced back and forth between middleweight and welterweight during his UFC career, and has expressed interest in moving back down to 170 pounds.

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