Fightin' Words

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Long Island's influx on the UFC

Dennis Bermudez celebrates his tap-out win against Tom

Dennis Bermudez celebrates his tap-out win against Tom Hayden in their middleweight bout during UFC 150 in Denver. (Aug. 11, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Long Island's closest UFC title contender, Chris Weidman, remains on the shelf as he rehabs from a shoulder injury. But as Weidman continues his way back to the middleweight division and a possible fight with champion Anderson Silva, plenty of other local fighters have UFC fights scheduled in the next two months. Here's a quick rundown:

Featherweight Dennis Bermudez (Lindenhurst) will fight Matt Grice on Feb. 23 at UFC 157 in Las Vegas. Bermudez (10-3) has won his last two fights after losing to Diego Brandao in "Ultimate Fighter" Season 14 finale.

Ryan LaFlare (Lindenhurst), finally healthy after several years, is coming off a win last month in Ring of Combat. The middleweight LaFlare (7-0) had a deal with World Series of Fighting in place, then Zuffa absorbed LaFlare's previous Strikeforce contract. He will fight Ben Alloway at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 6.

Gian Villante (Levittown), one of the first two announced Strikeforce light heavyweight fighters to join the UFC, will make his promotion debut at UFC 159 in Newark on April 27. Villante (10-3) will fight Ovince St. Preux, as first reported by Newsday.

Lightweight Al Iaquinta (Wantagh) returns from a knee injury to fight Joe Proctor at UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. It is the first fight for Iaquinta (5-2-1) since losing in final of Season 15 of "The Ultimate Fighter."

Tags: ufc , al iaquinta , long island , gian villante , dennis bermudez , ryan laflare , chris weidman

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