The UFC will return to the APEX center in their hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21st. The main event will highlight two middleweight perennial contenders in Kelvin Gastelum (16-7-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5-0) as they attempt to bounce back from losses to the former champ, Robert Whittaker. The match-up is a no-brainer for the UFC match-makers as they come to a crossroads in their career. Both long running top 10 fighters, showing glimpses of greatness. But will get more into that. If its not apparent already, you’ve just stumbled onto the most in-depth Cannonier vs Gastelum prediction – look no further.
Cannonier’s Path to Victorty
“The Killa Gorilla” may have been the more in-active of the two, but it has given him time to heal up and rejuvenate. An even bigger perk is he’s also the more violent of the two. Nine knockout wins for Jared, versus Kevin’s six. And thats within six less MMA bouts than his opponent. If that doesn’t pop-out to you, consider that Jared’s muay-thai knees and elbows have put most of his opponents down in the first round, including the longest reigning champ, Anderson Silva. Jared is also statistically a better fighter against southpaw fighters, which Gastelum is. What he will need to do is keep it standing at all costs. The grappling world is likely to his opponent, who is the superior wrestler and submission artist. Gastelum is known to throw himself into the fire, which would play right into Cannonier’s hand (pun intended).
Gastelum’s Path to Victory
Kelvin is one of the most talented athletes on the roster. He has the grappling game on lock, yet he also loves to throw bombs and trade in the pocket. He’s welcome to pick his shots with Cannonier, while being competitive, but not for long periods. He should draw Cannonier into a boxing match, then double-leg and work to mount. This is Kelvin’s easiest path, however based on his record, he will make it a gritty, fan-friendly war. Should the fight stay standing (as expected), Gastelum does have heavy hooks that can finish anyone. Just ask former champ, Michael Bisping. He can’t play on the outside as I can see Cannonier eating up his legs with his powerful low leg kicks. Some dirty boxing would do him well too, assuming he parlays into some takedown attempts. Overall, I truly believe Gastelum is the more naturally talented athlete here. It’s just a question as to which Kelvin shows up Saturday night.
Cannonier vs. Gastelum Prediction
As a fan of both men, it’s actually easier to not be biased. I can see both men getting their hand raised, however I quickly leaned one way as soon as I heard about the match-up. A healthy Jared Cannonier is going to land more volume in combos and significant strikes than the sniper, Gastelum. Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision. Now if Gastelum would just mix in more wrestling, it would be his night. But like many other specialist that go away from their bread and butter, I see him looking to go to war in a five round brawl that he will lose on points. There’s always the chance of the knockout or submission from Gastelum, but we haven’t seen that from him since 2017. Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.