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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:44 PM

UFC Fight Night Cannonier vs. Gastelum Picks


Aug 16, 2021
by Adam Lykkesteen
UFC Expert
VegasInsider.com

UFC Vegas 34 Betting Preview & Predictions

After a two-week hiatus the UFC returns to the Las Vegas Apex arena for an action-packed UFC Vegas 34 event.

The card will be headlined by 185-pounders Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. Both fighters are coming off a unanimous decision loss to former champion Robert Whittaker, and are looking to get back in the win column.

The co-main event sees unbeaten 155-pound Danish Olympic wrestler phenom Mark O. Madsen back in the octagon for the first time in 18 months. He will take on UFC veteran Clay Guida who picked up a win in his last bout.

UFC Vegas 34 Main Card

  • Middleweight Bout: Jared Cannonier (-165) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+135)
  • Lightweight Bout: Mark O. Madsen (-165) vs. Clay Guida (+140)
  • Heavyweight Bout: Chase Sherman (-165) vs. Parker Porter (+140)
  • Lightweight Bout: Vinc Pichel (-105) vs. Austin Hubbard (-115)
  • Flyweight Bout: Alexandre Pantoja (-165) vs. Brandon Royval (+140)

UFC Vegas 34 Betting Odds

UFC Vegas 34 Main Event Prediction

Middleweight Bout
Jared Cannonier vs. Kelvin Gastelum

No. 3 ranked Jared Cannonier looked unstoppable when he decided to make the move to middleweight, going 3-0 in his first three outings. A run-in with former titleholder Robert Whittaker would bring The Killa Gorilla’s divisional ascend to a halt however, and now he’s looking to get back in the win column.

A win for Cannonier could put him next in line for a title eliminator bout. Kelvin Gastelum’s big highlight came against 185-pound champion and UFC megastar Israel Adesanya. However, the 29-year old has struggled to get back in the win column since, as he has won just one of his last four UFC outings. Kelvin is in dire need of a win here.

Cannonier hits like a heavyweight, and that’s no understatement because the guy used to fight at heavyweight. Mixed results would make him move down to 205-pounds, and then he decided to go all the way down to middleweight where he has been for the last couple of years. Cannonier is a natural power striker with a 77’’ reach which is quite long for the division. In 13 pro wins he has gotten the knockout nine times, alongside two submission and decision wins. At middleweight, Cannonier has only gotten the ‘dub inside the distance.

29-year old Gastelum initially started out his UFC career at welterweight after winning TUF season 17. However, despite having an impressive track record at 170-pounds several botched weight cuts for Gastelum would cause him to move up in weight.

Gastelum is a striker with some wrestling in his back pocket. He usually goes for the knockout which is evident by his six pro KO wins. As Gastelum is a natural welterweight, he usually struggles with a size disadvantage against 185-pounders. He has a reach of 71’’ and is 5’9’’ tall.

Cannonier vs. Gastelum Prediction

Unless Gastelum uses some of his wrestling skills, this will be a striker versus striker matchup. In that matchup I favor the more powerful puncher with the longer reach, Cannonier. Gastelum also has a negative strike differential, and that six-inch reach disadvantage will be very evident on August 21st.

The only thing going against Jared in this fight is the age gap. Cannonier, 37, is eight years older than Gastelum here, which is statistically significant. However, since ‘The Killa Gorilla’ has been getting such consistent results at middleweight so far I can’t see his age slowing him down against the much smaller Gastelum.

I think Cannonier picks him apart from a distance, chopping down his legs and jabbing him to a unanimous decision. Gastelum has been susceptible to leg kicks before, and Cannonier has ended fights by targeting his opponents’ legs before.

Prediction: Cannonier (-165) def. Gastelum

UFC Vegas 34 Co-Main Event Prediction

Lightweight Bout
Mark O. Madsen vs. Clay Guida

Unbeaten Danish UFC prospect and former silver-winning Olympic wrestler Mark O. Madsen puts his unblemished record on the line against UFC veteran Clay Guida. A win for Madsen could put him next in line for a top 15 opponent, whereas a win for Guida could be a retirement opportunity for Guida, as he would be on a two-fight win streak over good competition.

Unbeaten former olympic greco-roman wrestler Madsen makes his octagon return on August the 21st after an 18-month hiatus. Madsen won his UFC debut via first-round TKO, making quick work of Danilo Belluardo in September of 2019. He would move to 10-0 against Austin Hubbard at UFC 248 in March of last year and has not fought since. Madsen’s wrestling is by far his biggest strength as ‘The Olympian’ averages over eight takedowns per 15 minutes.

39-year old Clay Guida is 15-14 in the UFC and has faced some of the best fighters at 145-pounds and 155-pounds throughout his career. ‘The Carpenter’ is renowned for his legendary cardio, and never seems to slow down once he gets started in the octagon.

Guida is something of a grappling wiz himself, and averages over three takedowns every three rounds. Guida is 5-5 in his last 10 outings, and a win over a prospect like Madsen would perhaps be the biggest of his career.

Madsen vs. Guida Prediction

On the feet this fight should be quite even, perhaps we could give the edge to Guida since Madsen hasn’t been tested a lot on the feet in the UFC. On the ground, Madsen will most likely be the better grappler, and despite Guida’s 13 submission wins, ‘The Carpenter’ has gotten one ‘sub win in this decade. I don’t see him submitting Madsen.

Mark can be an aggressive striker, and the punching power on the other side from Guida should keep the Dane out of danger for the most part. Guida is a good opponent for Madsen to showcase his clinch and grappling prowess, and Clay has actually lost the last five bouts wherein he’s been taken down. The veteran’s takedown defense of 68% won’t do much for him against one of the best credentialed wrestlers in all of MMA.

Prediction: Madsen (-165) def. Guida

Heavyweight Bout
Chase Sherman vs. Parker Porter

Just before the UFC Vegas 34 co-main event we have some heavyweight action between two unranked contenders. Both fighters’ UFC careers may be at stake on Saturday. A loss could result in free agency for either fighter. Chase Sherman is 3-6 in the UFC whereas Parker Porter is 1-1, winning his last bout by unanimous decision.

Sherman, 31, has had his ups and downs throughout a 22-fight MMA career. He was initially signed to the UFC back in 2016, where a 2-5 run would eject him from the promotion. 'The Vanilla Gorilla’ would go on to fight in Square Ring Promotions, a smaller MMA organization, where he would rack up three wins in a row.

Following his hot streak he would get the call back to the UFC, and won his return fight with a second-round KO over Villanueva. In April he’d take on UFC veteran Andrei Arlovski, a fight he lost by decision.

A heavy-handed striker with little regard for grappling is Sherman. He averages a whopping six punches landed, while being on the receiving end of just about the same, every minute. Sherman’s bulldozing style has handed him his three UFC wins, but has also put him on the receiving end of six losses inside the octagon. Chase has been out-landed on the strike totals in six of his nine UFC outings. He has only gone the distance and won once.

Porter, 36, was pitted against rising prospect Chris Daukaus in his UFC debut, where he would be knocked out with just 30 seconds left of the first round.He would then go on to win his next fight over Josh Parisian, in a tough-fought three-round bout back in November of last year.

Porter is a pressure fighter who comes forward and looks to grapple. He managed to get off two takedowns and four minutes of top control time in his last fight.

Sherman vs. Porker Prediction

Both fighters are in the low end of the 265-pound division’s talent pool, if you don’t mind me saying. I think Porter has an advantage due to his grappling abilities. Sherman, by far the more experienced UFC fighter of the two, has never attempted a single takedown in his nine-fight UFC career. He does have a 77% takedown defense which is one of his biggest strengths, but Chase hasn’t faced off against a pure grappler in some time.

On the feet I expect Sherman to be in the driver’s seat, but Porter can easily engage in the clinch or attempt to drag this fight to the mat which should give him a very big advantage. In the lower ranks of the heavyweight division, cardio is often an issue, which is why I expect the grappler to take over once the striker starts fatiguing.

Prediction: Porter (+140) def. Sherman

Lightweight Bout
Austin Hubbard vs. Vinc Pichel

29-year old Austin Hubbard has been getting mixed results in the octagon thus far, with a 3-3 record in six outings. He has only lost to top contenders though, so a win over Vinc Pichel could elevate his career to the next level. A win for Pichel, 38, could result in a ranked opponent next, as the 38-year old is already on a 2-fight win streak over solid competition.

‘Thud’ was signed to the UFC in 2019, and got to take on hard-hitting veteran, Davi Ramos, in his debut. Despite coming up short, Hubbard would get back in the win column in his next outing, with a win over Kyle Prepolec. Austin would then fight Olympic wrestler, also featured on this card, Mark O. Madsen, in a fight where Hubbard didn’t secure a W despite putting on an impressive performance.

Hubbard is 3-3 in the UFC and is a fairly well-rounded mixed martial artist. He is well-versed on the feet, but can get off some control time when shooting for takedowns. Hubbard does not engage in wrestling exchanges often however, as he only averages 0.81 takedowns per 15 minutes.

13-2 Pichel is on a two-fight win streak in the UFC. He has amassed a 6-2 record under the UFC mantle, but has yet to make his big breakthrough. At 38-years of age, time is running short for Pichel however, and he needs to get some activity going if he wants to beat the top guys before he retires.

Pichel is a position-grappler with decent hands. He does most of his work from top position, and tends to win on the scorecards. Despite averaging 3.83 takedowns every 15 minutes, Pichel has never won via submission in his entire MMA career. The finishing ability on the mat is lacking from his arsenal, and submission would undoubtedly make him a far more dangerous grappler. Nonetheless, Pichel is a well-versed guy with good abilities all ‘round.

Hubbard vs. Pichel Prediction

Pichel is going to go for the legs right away, can Hubbard keep this on the feet? Hubbard’s kryptonite has been the expert grappler so far, but we can’t compare Madsen to Pichel - there’s levels to wrestling. Madsen was compromised from the second half of the second round and onwards, and barely won with control time. He was outlanded 41 to 15.

If we take submissions out of the equation, I think Hubbard’s strength and get-up game is strong enough to beat Pichel. Hubbard is also nine-years younger than Pichel which is very significant in itself. Fighters with a nine-year age advantage win 63% of the time.

All in all, Hubbard should be able to handle the grappling of Pichel.

Prediction: Hubbard (-105) def. Pichel

Flyweight Bout
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval

Two flyweight killers meet. Alexandre Pantoja is the more established UFC fighter, with 10 outings for the promotion. Brandon Royval, on the other hand, is making his walk to the octagon for the fourth time this Saturday.

A win for Royval, should he continue his fight-of-the-night-bonus streak, could seriously elevate him up the ladder. For Pantoja, a win could mean he is next in line for a top contender.

A gifted striker with dangerous submissions is 29-year old Royval. After conquering the 125-pound title of a smaller MMA promotion, LFA, Royval got the call from the UFC. Royval won his first two in a row, earning a fight-of-the-night-bonus in both outings.

A fight against current Flyweight Champion Brandon Moreno was next, however a broken arm would ruin Royval’s night, as the referee was forced to stop the fight. Now Royval is ready to get back into the win column. The ‘Raw Dawg’ has a finish rate of 92%.

At 23-5 Pantoja is a very experienced MMA fighter. Inside the UFC octagon he is 7-3 with a recent win over Manel Kape. Pantoja is well-rounded and can handle himself in all areas of fighting. However striking is his biggest strength, as with eight KO wins on his pro resume.

Like his opponent in this matchup, Alexandre is somewhat of a submission wiz, as he has won eight fights by way of submission, two under the UFC mantle. ‘The Cannibal’ has a finish rate of 70%.

Pantoja vs. Royval Prediction

The finish rates these two fighters possess are spectacular for 125-pounders, as the majority of bouts in this weight class tend to go the distance. Pantoja has more volume when he strikes, but Royval throws with a lot of intent to kill. Usually, this is an advantage for the power striker, even though his striking numbers may be inferior on paper, as judges score damage over volume in most instances.

On the mat, this is anybody’s fight, but I think Royval looks a bit slicker when he’s on the mat. He never seems like he’s out of his depth. Royval has also attempted far more submissions in only three outings, than Pantoja has in his 10 UFC fights. Unfortunately for Royval, he has a habit of giving up control time and willingly getting taken down because he believes he can make something happen on the ground. This is a trait possessed most notably by the Diaz brothers, and it usually leads to some avoidable decision losses for the ones with this tendency.

As long as he doesn’t spend an entire round on the ground, I’ll give this to Royval as he is way more damaging with his strikes, and always presses forward looking for a finish. In the lower weight classes, it’s also far more difficult to hold down opponents for a long period of time, due to the fact that fighters’ center of gravity are more lower, hence making it easier for them to pop back up.

This is why we see the ‘Khabib’ of 135-pounds, Merab Dvalishvili, averaging over seven takedowns in a three round bout just to get enough control time to win on the scorecards. Royval is more damaging, and in an evenly-matched bout, I think that’s the factor that will determine who gets his hand raised in the end.

Prediction: Royval (+140) def. Pantoja

Odds & Bouts Subject to Change - per BetMGM


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