Jared “Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (13-5-0) takes on Kelvin Gastelum (17-7-0) in a middleweight bout that’s the main event on Saturday at UFC Fight Night (also known as UFC on ESPN 29) at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Both fighters are coming into this bout off a loss to former champion and current No. 1 contender Robert Whittaker.
The 37-year-old Cannonier lost via a unanimous decision to Whittaker in October last year, with Gastelum losing in the same manner to a dominant Whittaker in April this year.
View: All UFC Odds
Jared Cannonier vs Kelvin Gastelum Odds
Cannonier goes into the bout as a fairly marginal favorite in the ‘Fight Result’ moneyline betting odds at –210 with offshore sportsbook Bovada, with Gastelum available at odds of +135.
A win here for either fighter would put them closer to a shot at the title contention. Despite the possibility of some rust in the octagon after little action in the last couple of years, Cannonier could have the advantage here.
Jared Cannonier vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview
The loss to Whittaker was Cannonier’s only fight in almost two years, but he had a three-fight winning streak prior to that.
The “Killa Gorilla”, who has a switch fighting stance, is something of a KO specialist (with a striking accuracy of 52% and landing 3.70 significant strikes per minute), which is particularly apparent since moving down to middleweight. He’s won nine of his 13 bouts by knockout, with two wins by submission and two by decision.
Middleweight – Main Event
|Jared Cannonier||Name||Kelvin Gastelum|
|5′ 11″||Height||5′ 9″|
|185 lbs||Weight||186 lbs|
|3.70||Sig Strk LPM||3.52|
|56.75||Sig Strk Acc||47.41|
Does Gastelum have a fighters chance?
Kelvin Gastelum is a replacement for Paulo Costa who was originally scheduled to fight Cannonier. Gastelum was eager to face Jared Cannonier, so he jumped at the chance when Paulo Costa pulled out.
The 29-year-old Gastelum has actually lost four of his last five fights, although they have all been against elite fighters in Israel Adesanya, Darren Till, Jack Hermansson and Whittaker. His one win in this period came by unanimous decision against Ian Heinisch in February.
His loss to Adesanya for the interim middleweight title at UFC 236 did see Gastelum put up a very strong performance and he was only just edged out by the judges.
Gastelum is another powerful striker (hitting at 42% accuracy and landing 3.52 significant strikes per minute), winning six of his fights by KO, but he hasn’t progressed as much as some had expected in recent years and is seen as being a somewhat predictable fighter by some observers.
Gastelum has a southpaw stance and also has impressive footwork. He will need to be quick on his feet in order to keep his distance and avoid a big hitter like Cannonier, particularly with Cannonier having a two-inch height and six-inch reach advantage. The UFC fight analysts at Oddswire.com point out that this is not a “gimme” fight – “‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ Jared Cannonier is the betting favourite but he’ll need to bring his fight IQ to the apex when taking on a stubborn Kelvin Gastelum, a fighter who is not shy of going five rounds.”
Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval
Also on the UFC Vegas 34 card is a battle between Alexandre “The Cannibal” Pantoja (23-5-0) and Brandon “Raw Dawg” Royval (12-5-0) in a flyweight bout. This is a fight between two top 10 UFC flyweights, with the winner putting themselves into title contention.
Flyweight – Main Event
|Alexandre Pantoja||Name||Brandon Royval|
|5′ 5″||Height||5′ 9″|
|125 lbs||Weight||125 lbs|
|4.30||Sig Strk LPM||3.77|
|52.69||Sig Strk Acc||51.60|
Alexandre Pantoja – The No. 3 ranked 31-year-old Brazilian Pantoja won his last fight in February via unanimous decision against UFC newcomer Manel “Starboy” Kape.
Brandon Royval – The No. 6 ranked 28-year-old Royval from Denver, Colorado saw his four-fight winning streak brought to an end by Mexico’s Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno in November last year, when he lost by TKO after dislocating his shoulder.
Pantoja vs Royval Betting Odds
Pantoja comes into this bout as the favorite in the Fight Result betting odds (Win) at –170, with Royval on offer at odds of +140. This looks likely to be another closely fought contest, but Royval might struggle against Pantoja’s greater experience.
* UFC Vegas 34 odds correct at the time of writing. All betting odds are subject to change.