We had a big time middleweight showdown in the main event of UFC Vegas 34 tonight. Headlining the card was Jared Cannonier (13-5) who was taking on the tough Kelvin Gastelum (17-7, 1 NC).
In April of 2019, Gastelum fought Israel Adesanya for the interim UFC middleweight title. Gastelum gave Adesanya the best fight he’s ever had at middleweight, but came up short. After that, Gastelum lost back-to-back fights to Darren Till and Jack Hermansson.
Earlier this year, he won against Ian Heinisch to snap the losing streak. However, he then lost to former UFC champion Robert Whittaker. Gastelum has been taking on the best of the best, but he’s still just 1-4 in his last five.
Jared Cannonier turned his career around when he moved down to 185. Cannonier debuted in the UFC at heavyweight. He then dropped to light heavyweight before finally settling at middleweight.
So far, he’s 3-1 with three stoppages at 185. He was in a title eliminator at UFC 254 against Robert Whittaker, but he came up short. Cannonier also broke his arm in that fight and it’s kept him out since then.
UFC Vegas 34 Recap
The UFC Vegas 34 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Cannonier opened the striking with a jab and a high kick attempt. Gastelum was looking to attack the body with a jab in the opening seconds.
Nice leg kick lands for Gastelum. Cannonier holds the center and explodes into a combination off a counter. Gastelum then pushes forward with his own combination and Cannonier circles out.
Lots of pressure for Cannonier who lands a beautiful body kick. Nice 1-2 lands for Cannonier as Gastelum looks to get on the inside. Leg kick for Gastelum lands and he follows it with his own 1-2. Two brutal kicks land for Cannonier with the finishing kick landing flush on the calf.
Gastelum wings a massive left that just misses the mark. Nice left straight lands for Cannonier who seems more measured late in the round. Lots of movement from Gastelum here as he looks to hold the center.
Big 1-2 lands for Cannonier. Gastelum pushes forward and lands a grazing right hand. Leg kick lands for Gastelum, but there wasn’t much on it. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Cannonier at UFC Vegas 34.
Gasteum’s corner was asking for more kicks in between rounds at UFC Vegas 34. Entering the second, Gastelum was very light on his feet while Cannonier was plotting forward. Cannonier was looking for a bomb, while Gastelum was looking for volume.
Gastelum teases a takedown attempt, but circles back to the center. Jab to the body lands for Gastelum. Leg kick lands for Gastelum and Cannonier lands a counter jab. Power jab lands for Cannonier, but Gastelum counters with a clean combination.
Big calf kick lands for Cannonier. Pressure here from Gastelum as he looks for his openings. A nice combination lands for Gastelum and Cannonier is looking for a massive power shot. Cannonier is looking a little tired in the second round.
Gastelum lands a huge left hand and then spins to the back of Cannonier. They break and Gastelum lands a vicious 1-2 that draws a smile from Cannonier. Cannonier tries to answer back, but Gastelum is looking slick here in the second.
Cannonier whiffs on a big head kick attempt. Gastelum lands to the body and he looks for a combination, but Cannonier defends well. Cannonier lands a kick, but Gastelum counters with a beautiful combination. Round comes to a close and it’s 1-1 at UFC Vegas 34.
Entering the third at UFC Vegas 34 and Gastelum appears to have all the momentum. Gastelum immediately takes the center to start the third and he moves forward to pressure Cannonier. Cannonier tries to explode into a combination but nothing lands.
Gastelum lands a jab, but Cannonier just misses a head kick. Then out of no where a massive right hook from Cannonier sits Gastelum down. Gastelum pops right up but he’s wobbly here. Cannonier looks for a head kick and just misses.
Somehow, Gastelum has seemed to recover insanely quickly. He shoots in for a takedown and almost gets Cannonier down. However, Cannonier defends well. Cannonier lands a big knee to the body and they break.
Cannonier throws two right hands, but they don’t seem to even phase Gastelum. Gastelum lands a beautiful combination and Cannonier is slowing down. Both men land beautiful shots with one minute left in the round.
Nice combination lands for Cannonier and he’s trying to remain composed near the end of the round. Gastelum circles on the outside and wings a couple of big shots. Lots of pressure here from Gastelum as the round ends. 2-1 Cannonier after two here at UFC Vegas 34.
Gastelum looked much better in between rounds than Cannonier at UFC Vegas 34. Immediate pressure from Gastelum as the fourth round starts. Brutal body kick lands for Gastelum while Cannonier is head hunting.
Cannonier explodes forward and lands some big power shots and forces Gastelum to clinch. Gastelum pushes Cannonier against the fence and tries to get a takedown. However, Cannonier defends well and he forces a break.
Nice right straight lands for Cannonier. Gastelum lands a nice right hand and a leg kick as he circles. Cannonier holding the center while Gastelum is circling. Jab to the body lands for Gastelum and Cannonier counters with a nice right hook.
Cannonier just misses on a huge right hand and head kick. Gastelum lands another nice leg kick and he definitely looks fresher here in the fourth. A brief exchange occurs for both and it appears that Cannonier dropped Gastelum.
However, it wasn’t very clear. Both men land good shots as the round comes to a close and this round could have gone to either. I lean ever so slightly towards Cannonier which would put him up 3-1 at UFC Vegas 34.
Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 34 and both corners think they’re up 3-1. Gastelum opens the striking in the final round with a jab to the body. Big power shots land for Cannonier and those definitely got Gastelum’s attention.
Power leg kick lands for Gastelum. Gastelum holding the center while Cannonier is circling in the final frame. Good combination lands for Gastelum and Cannonier steps in with a huge right hand counter. Beautiful jab lands from Gastelum.
1-2 over the top lands for Gastelum and he chains it into a takedown attempt. Gastelum briefly gets the takedown, but Cannonier pops right back up. Halfway through the round and this has been Gastelum’s round thus far.
Cannonier forces a break and were back to striking. Huge combination lands for Gastelum. Another nice combination from Gastelum and he’s pulling away with this fifth round. Cannonier throws a 1-2, but there’s no reaction from Gastelum.
Jab lands for Cannonier and there’s one minute left. Nice left hook lands for Gastelum and he lands a leg kick. He immediately tries to get a takedown, but Cannonier stays standing. Gastelum active here in the final seconds, but just as the bell sounds, Cannonier lands a huge knee.
I think Gastelum definitely takes the final round, but I have Cannonier winning the fight. That said, this fight could go either way at UFC Vegas 34.
Jared Cannonier def. Kelvin Gastelum by (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)