Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum did not disappoint in their action-packed main event at UFC Vegas. They are both known for having competitive fights, and they absolutely delivered. Still, there could only be one winner, and on this night it was Cannonier, winning a very close unanimous decision with all three scorecards being 48-47.
The fight was very close with only two rounds being truly secured. The second round was Gastelum’s due to his pressure and accuracy with his power punches. He was walking Cannonier down and imposing his combinations.
There is a strong argument that the third round was clearly Cannonier. The “Killa Gorilla” dropped Gastelum with a clean right hook. A finish seemed to be close, but Gastelum survived and ended the round on a strong note.
Rounds one, four and five could have gone either way with each man having their moments.
Gastelum was using pressure to neutralize Cannonier’s aggression. At times, he was also successful pushing Cannonier to the cage to control the clinch and even score a takedown. Also, Gastelum’s boxing was scoring points as he would engage near the cage, causing an initiation of grappling that favored him.
On the other hand, Cannonier’s power was strongly evident throughout the fight. He rocked the former title challenger in the third round to score significant points. His power punches and foot movement were key to keeping Gastelum at bay from utilizing more takedown attempts, even so, he stuffed the majority of the takedown attempts, proving to have a strong takedown defense.
In the end, this is what won Cannonier the bout.
When asked about the upcoming Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker title fight and if he would wait for the winner of that fight, Cannonier had a straightforward answer.
“I’m broke, so I need to fight,” Cannonier said. “Hopefully, I get that title shot but the right name might make me to say yes.”
Cannonier is someone the current champion, Adesanya, would like to face as he mentioned in his UFC 253 post fight interview, however there are obstacles in the way of that for the time being with his upcoming title defense against Whittaker.
Here are some other standout performers of the night.
Pantoja and Brandon Royval had a high pace bout with scramble after scramble on the ground, causing several stalemates. On the feet, Pantoja had the harder punches, but Royval seemed to be the fresher fighter as his combinations appeared much smoother while Pantoja’s came at a more labored pace.
As they entered the second round, more scrambles took place with Pantoja having the advantage. He was able to take Royval’s back to secure the rear naked choke for the win. Afterwards, Pantoja called out flyweight champion Brandon Moreno for a title fight in December.
Bahamondes put on a striking clinic against the betting favorite Roosevelt Roberts. After winning the majority of the fight, he put an exclamation point on the contest with a buzzer-beating spinning heel kick knockout. At just 23 years old, he seems to have a bright future in the UFC.
His fight was a war of attrition against Trevin Jones. There was a lot of fatiguing clinch work on both sides. Kakhramonov accepted the fight on less than a week’s notice to come out on top with a guillotine submission victory. It was a successful UFC debut for the 25-year-old.
We won’t have to wait long for more UFC action as Edson Barboza will battle Giga Chikadze on UFC Fight Night: Barboza Vs Chikdaze. Their main event will take place on Saturday Aug. 28 streaming on ESPN and ESPN+.