UFC Vegas 34 goes down this weekend at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas as top 10 middleweights Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum look to move one step closer to the title.
In the co-main event, UFC veteran Clay Guida takes on undefeated Danish prospect Mark Madsen. Elsewhere on the main card, Chase Sherman takes on Parker Porter, Vinc Pichel takes on Austin Hubbard and Alexandre Pantoja collides with Brandon Royval.
Jared Cannonier vs Kelvin Gastelum
Both Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum are coming off unanimous decision losses to former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Cannonier was initially expected to face Paulo Costa, but Gastelum stepped in as a replacement after the Brazilian denied ever signing a contract to fight.
Gastelum is a high-risk and low reward fight for Cannonier, but one that guarantees fireworks. Cannonier is predominantly a striker and Gastelum is predominantly a grappler, but the latter can crack and has serious knockout power in his hands.
Gastelum can surely trade with Cannonier, but he should look to take the fight to the ground, because ‘The Killa Gorilla’ doesn’t have a great takedown defense, which is around 40 percent. But if he chooses to stand and trade, the fight won’t go the distance because both fighters are finishers.
Clay Guida vs Mark Madsen
Clay Guida has been fighting in the UFC for as long as one can remember. ‘The Carpenter’ has fought some of the biggest names in the UFC throughout his career and is coming off a solid unanimous decision win against Michael Johnson.
Madsen is only three years younger than Guida, but he’s still young in MMA, with a record of 10-0. The Olympic silver medalist is one of the finest wrestlers to come out of Europe and will be looking to use his wrestling skills to improve his record to 11-0 on Saturday. Guida is a very experienced campaigner, but he has 10 submission losses in his career, so Madsen will have a clear advantage on the ground.
But if Guida can stuff the takedowns and land his haymakers, Madsen might find himself in a place where time doesn’t exist.
Chase Sherman vs Parker Porter
Heavyweight fights are unpredictable because all it takes is one solid strike to end the fight. This fight will be no different because both Chase Sherman and Parker Porter are heavy hitters. Sherman is the overall better fighter, and also has more experience fighting in the UFC, therefore he is the favorite going into the fight. Sherman is also younger by 5 years at 31 years old, which means he’s very much in his prime.
Porter is better-rounded as he has knockout and submission wins to his name, but Sherman is a very dangerous striker with 14 knockout wins to his name.
Vinc Pichel vs Austin Hubbard
Vinc Pichel vs Austin Hubbard is an intriguing matchup between two fighters looking to impress the UFC bigwigs. 38-year-old Pichel is on a two-fight win streak, while Hubbard, who is 9 years younger, is coming off a win as well, but it is his last fight on his UFC contract.
To earn a new contract, he will have to impress the bosses. That won’t be easy against a fighter as good as Pichel, who’s a hard man to hit on the feet, and is more efficient on the ground than Hubbard. While Hubbard lands more significant strikes per minute on average, Pichel absorbs very few. On the mat, although Hubbard is really good, Pichel is far more efficient as he lands nearly 4 takedowns per fight. It’s a do-or-die situation for both.
Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval
Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval have a big chance to impress newly-crowned flyweight champion Brandon Moreno on Saturday.
Royval is coming off a loss to Moreno, while Pantoja beat Manel Kape in his most recent fight. Both fighters are capable strikers. Pantoja lands nearly 4.5 significant strikes per minute on average while Royval lands nearly 4. Pantoja has the edge in the grappling department, however, as he attempts more takedowns and has great submission skills. Royval has a number of submission wins to his name as well, and is a very well-rounded fighter. It’s going to be a very close fight.
UFC Vegas 34 Full Card
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