The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, August 21, 2021, after a weekend away for UFC on ESPN 29, headlined by middleweight contenders Jared Cannonier (No. 3) and Kelvin Gastelum (No. 9).
Cannonier was originally slated to headline against No. 2 ranked Paulo Costa tonight, however, Costa pulled out and was replaced by Gastelum.
Actually, Gastelum also filled in when Costa pulled out of his bout with former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in April, which was also a five-round bout. He’s been filling all the gaps for the UFC recently, but with consequence.
Including his interim title bout with current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, he’s gone 1-4 in his last five, after initially going 5-1 at 185 lbs with victories over four world champions (Nate Marquardt, Johny Hendricks, Jacare Souza, Michael Bisping).
Official Result: Jared Cannonier def. Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Both men come out throwing heavy leather and heavy kicks early, to the body and legs.
Cannonier was having success with his body kicks, while Gastelum was able to use his jab at times. Gastelum nearly took Cannonier down at the end of the round as well, but he was saved by the bell.
Gastelum used his footwork and made for a difficult target for Cannonier throughout the second round, and started letting go with his combinations, one of which stumbled Cannonier back a bit.
Cannonier hurts Gastelum badly at the beginning of round three with a nasty right hook, and lands a few more strikes in pursuit of a finish. However, Gastelum, as tough as he is, was able to hold on and regain his composure pretty quickly.
Gastelum shot on a few takedown attempts, though he was unable to secure any, and the two were striking for the remainder of the round. Most people have Cannonier up 29-28 through three.
The next two rounds show Gastelum attempt takedown attempts unsuccessfully, aside from a momentary one in the fifth, with Gastelum chasing Cannonier down trying to land effective strikes. Only thing is, Cannonier was landing his own.
The stats showed Cannonier out-struck Gastelum in rounds one and three, but the second, fourth, and fifth rounds were very close in numbers, and very close when tallying a score for this fight.
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.