The UFC Fight Night main event between Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday night in Las Vegas is a pivotal one in the 185-pound division. The winner will remain a top contender, while the loser will slide down the rankings. ESPN has Cannonier ranked No. 5 at middleweight. Gastelum is currently unranked, but he also has given champion Israel Adesanya arguably the toughest test at middleweight of Adesanya’s UFC career.
Cannonier (13-4) would have earned a title shot with a win in his previous bout, but he fell to former champ Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision last October. The Texas native, who fights out of Arizona, was on a three-fight winning streak prior to that loss. Cannonier, 37, is one of only two men (Conor McGregor being the other) to win via KO/TKO in three different UFC divisions. He started his UFC run at heavyweight, then moved to light heavyweight and now competes at middleweight.
Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) has come from the other direction, beginning his UFC career as a welterweight prospect after winning the Ultimate Fighter middleweight crown in 2013. The California native moved to middleweight after struggles on the scale in 2016 and emerged as a contender, facing Adesanya for the interim title in 2019. It was a losing effort, but it was an all-action bout that was perhaps the best of that year. Gastelum, 29, has lost four of his past five fights, including that barnburner against Adesanya.
In the co-main event, undefeated wrestling standout Mark O. Madsen meets wily veteran Clay Guida. Madsen (10-0), a 36-year-old from Denmark, is a former Olympic silver medalist in Greco Roman wrestling. Guida (36-20), a 39-year-old fighting out of California’s Team Alpha Male, snapped a two-fight losing streak in his past bout. Guida is a 15-year UFC veteran and his fight with Diego Sanchez is in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Also on the card, Alexandre Pantoja takes on Brandon Royval in an important flyweight contender matchup, Chase Sherman faces Parker Porter in a battle of heavyweight sluggers and grizzled veteran Vinc Pichel meets the up-and-coming Austin Hubbard in a lightweight scrap.
Fight in progress:
Ramiz is a beast! Heavy hands and a brutally offensive ground game! Great fight to kickoff this fight card. Let’s go!!! #UFCVegas34
— Alex Morono (@alexmoronomma) August 21, 2021
Recap to come.
Still to come:
Middleweight: Jared Cannonier (13-5, 6-5 UFC, -140) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-7 1 NC, 11-7 1 NC UFC, +120)
Lightweight: Clay Guida (36-17, 16-14 UFC, +140) vs. Mark O. Madsen (10-0, 2-0 UFC, -165)
Heavyweight: Chase Sherman (15-7, 1-1 UFC, -195) vs. Parker Porter (11-6, 1-1 UFC, +165)
Men’s bantamweight: Saidyokub Kakhramonov (8-2, 0-0 UFC) vs. Trevin Jones (13-6 1 NC, 1-0 1 NC UFC)
Lightweight: Vinc Pichel (13-2, 6-2 UFC, -115) vs. Austin Hubbard (13-5, 3-3 UFC, -105)
Flyweight: Alexandre Pantoja (23-5, 7-3 UFC, -175) vs. Brandon Royval (12-5, 2-1 UFC, +150)
Men’s featherweight: Austin Lingo (8-1, 1-1 UFC, +105) vs. Luis Saldana (15-6, 1-0 UFC, -125)
Men’s bantamweight: Brian Kelleher (22-12, -175) vs. Domingo Pilarte (8-2 1 NC, 0-1 1 NC UFC, +150)
Women’s bantamweight: Bea Malecki (4-0, 2-0 UFC, -150) vs. Josiane Nunes (7-1, 0-0 UFC, +125)
Light Heavyweight: William Knight (9-2, 2-1 UFC, -170) vs. Fabio Cherant (7-2, 0-1 UFC, +145)