By News Team
20th August 2021
Two middleweight contenders collide this Sunday morning as No. 3-ranked Jared Cannonier faces No. 9-ranked Kelvin Gastelum in the main event, with both men keen on climbing up the rankings to inch themselves closer to a title shot.
There’s a lightweight battle in the co-main as veterans Clay Guida and Mark O. Madsen meet in the Octagon. Opening the card, we see a pivotal Top 10 flyweight bout featuring Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval.
We preview the action below.
Jared Cannonier vs Kelvin Gastelum
Jared Cannonier had been enjoying a good run in the division, winning three fights in a row, all by knockout, before running into former champion Robert Whittaker in his last outing where he suffered a loss by decision.
Kelvin Gastelum was stuck in a three-fight losing skid from 2019 into 2020 but emerged with a decisive win earlier this year, before taking another loss in April, also to Whittaker.
Heading into his bout with Whittaker, Cannonier was on the cusp of title contention, while Gastelum has battled for championship gold in the past; both men want to get back there, but only one will take a step in that direction this weekend.
It’s another gutsy call by Gastelum to fill in for Paulo Costa, and it will be interesting to see if the former Ultimate Fighter winner can make the most of this second short notice main event opportunity after losing last time out.
Cannonier currently has an MMA record of 13-5 and at 37 years of age, many believe this is his last chance to challenge for the title. This should be where Gastelum gets the advantage, he is relatively younger at 29 years of age, has great endurance and a rock-solid chin. You can back him to win at 13/10, and 5/2 for it to come by decision.
If one goes by the recent form of the two fighters, Cannonier certainly holds the advantage over Gastelum.
Clay Guida vs Mark O. Madsen
Laying his perfect 10-0 record on the line is Mark O. Madsen who has also won his first two bouts in the UFC and now must deal with Clay Guida, who picked up a win earlier this year which was his first victory in nearly two years, as he tries to add a loss to Madsen’s record.
One of the most beloved fighters on the roster, Clay Guida, the 39-year-old UFC Hall of Famer remains a tough assignment for anyone with ambitions of climbing the lightweight ladder and is easily the most experienced fighter Madsen has faced thus far.
Guida got back into the win column last time out, earning a clean sweep of the scorecards in a February fight against Michael Johnson, pushing his record to 16-14 in the UFC and 36-17 overall.
A silver medallist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Madsen has been all-in on his MMA dreams since 2018, and “The Olympian” is the 4/7 favourite on the night, with a decision victory at 6/5.
Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval
A Top 10 flyweight matchup with potential championship implications hits the Octagon this weekend, as Brazilian Alexandre Pantoja squares off with Brandon Royval in what should be an action-packed affair.
Pantoja is 7-3 through his first 10 UFC appearances, most recently posting a win by unanimous decision over Manel Kape and holds a win over current champ Brandon Moreno.
Royval had a dynamic start to his UFC career last year, earning second-round submission wins and Fight of the Night bonuses in matchups against Top 10 stalwarts Tim Elliott and Kai Kara-France, “Raw Dawg” can be found at 6/4 to win, with a decision victory at 7/1.