Jon Anik looked up and down the UFC Long Island fight card and found himself impressed.
“This is as deep a card as we’ve had all year,” he said of Saturday’s event at Nassau Coliseum and airing on Fox. “Man, just a bunch of hungry, ornery New Yorkers ready to go. I’m excited for it.”
Anik will call the fights with Dominick Cruz and Brian Stann. Newsday asked Anik and Cruz for their thoughts on the six Long Island fighters on the card.
Anik on Islip’s Chris Wade, who fights Frankie Perez
“Chris Wade, he needs a finish, right, but Chris Wade and Frankie Perez are qualified lightweights They might be top 30 lightweights and they’re kicking off the fight card.”
Anik on Selden’s Brian Kelleher, who faces Marlon Vera
“Brian Kelleher isn’t ranked right now, but you watch that guy fight, there’s no doubt he’s a top 15 ranked bantamweight in the world. Number next to his name or not, he’s on UFC Fight Pass.”
Anik on Lindenhurst’s Ryan LaFlare, who fights Alex Oliveira
“I think this is an opportunity for him to break out because he’ll obviously have an offensively willing fighter in Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. He needs a finish. A finish would be useful for him. All seven of his UFC fights have gone the distance. I think if he’s going to take his career where he thinks he can take it, in a division that’s as ruthless as any, I think he needs a finish.”
Anik on Levittown’s Gian Villante, who faces Patrick Cummins
“[Ray] Longo said Villante is in the best shape of his life, so we’ll see. Hopefully these guys can make this something.”
Cruz on Lindenhurst’s Dennis Bermudez in the co-main event vs. Darren Elkins
“I know a lot of people are sleeping on that fight. They’re not necessarily fighting for titles or a No. 1 contender spot. But these two guys fight for life, air, to keep the blood in their bodies. Because each one of them fights for death and blood, so those two are literally fighting for a life, in my opinion, that’s how they always show up to compete.”
Anik on Baldwin’s Chris Weidman, who headlines against Kelvin Gastelum
“There’s only one guy who could headline in this building and it’s Chris Weidman. I think you’re going to get a huge effort out of him.”