UFC Fight Night is set to be headlined by Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight bout which will take place on August 21 at the UFC Apex Facility in Nevada, Las Vegas.
The fight between Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum is a crucial one for both the fighters as one is looking to maintain his spot towards the upper end of the UFC middleweight division while the other is looking to get back on track with a win to his name.
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Jared “The Killa Gorilla” (13-5-0) Cannonier who is currently ranked #3 in the middleweight division was initially set to headline the event against Paulo Costa, but the Brazillian pulled out of the fight in June and Kelvin Gastelum stepped up to replace him in the bout. In Cannonier’s first year in the middleweight division, he marked some important victories against fighters such as David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson but all that was wiped out when he lost on decision to former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254.
As for his opponent, Kelvin Gastelum (17-7-0) has made a mark since moving up to the middleweight division in 2016. His record was 3-1 in the middleweight division when the martial artist was given an Interim title opportunity against current MW champion Israel Adesanya. While that fight was a classic one in which Gastelum showed his sheer determination to fight, it marked the start of his current downward trend. Since then, the fighter has lost to Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, and the most recent one coming against Whittaker at UFC Vegas 24 earlier this year. Gastelum has only won one fight in his last five which has also dropped his ranking to #9 in the division.
This fight is a must-win for Gastelum but that isn’t the case for Cannonier, who with a win, could move up a couple of positions and see himself in line for the winner of Adesanya VS Whittaker 2.
Prediction: Gastelum to win via decision
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Coming into the fight, Cannonier has a two-inch height advantage which also gives him a six-inch reach advantage. The Killa Gorilla also edges out Gastelum when it comes to striking, especially in terms of his striking accuracy of 52% compared to Gastelum’s 42%.
But our prediction is a win for Gastelum via decision. All Gastelum needs to do is take things to the canvas which he most probably would as he averages at least one takedown every 15 minutes. This would work in his favor as his opponent Cannonier has a poor takedown defense rate. Kelvin Gastelum also has power in his punches which is not talked about enough, but is it going to be enough to knock the Killa Gorilla down? Let’s find out this weekend.
[Image Credit: The Championship Rounds]