In the main event of UFC Vegas 34 on August 21, middleweight contenders collide as Jared Cannonier takes on Kelvin Gastelum in an intriguing scrap.
The winner of the fight would position themselves nicely into a potential number one contender bout at middleweight.
UFC Vegas 34 Opening Odds
Jared Cannonier: -240
Kelvin Gastelum +195
Current UFC Vegas 34 Odds as of July 23
Jared Cannonier: -220
Kelvin Gastelum: +180
Cannonier and Gastelum’s recent fights
Jared Cannonier (13-5) is set to return to the Octagon for the first time in 10 months after he suffered a decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in October. The loss was his first at middleweight after he earned knockout wins over Jack Hermansson, Anderson Silva, and David Branch. Cannonier suffered an arm injury in the fight against Whittaker and had two surgeries to fix it. In his career, he has fought at heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight in the UFC. He has competed against the likes of Jan Blachowicz, Dominick Reyes, and Glover Teixeira among others.
Kelvin Gastelum (17-7) stepped up on short notice to take this fight as Cannonier was originally supposed to fight Paulo Costa. Gastelum last fought back in April on short notice against Whittaker where he dropped a five-round decision. Prior to that, he returned to the win column with a decision win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 to snap his three-fight skid. During the losing streak, he was submitted by Jack Hermansson and lost decisions to Darren Till and Israel Adesanya. In his career, he holds notable wins over Jacare Souza, Michael Bisping, and Uriah Hall among others.
Are the odds surprising?
I’m not surprised by the odds as Gastelum has struggled as of late and didn’t show much against Whittaker. Cannonier, meanwhile, has been very impressive at middleweight and had some moments against Whittaker and appeared to stun him at least once.
Although Gastelum is usually a favorite as he was over Till, Heinisch, and Hermansson, he was around a +225 underdog to Whittaker. That line, in my opinion, was still too low. To me, Whittaker is obviously better than Cannonier but it is close and I think the opening line had it right having Gastelum as a near two-to-one underdog.
How might the odds change?
At these current odds, I do think we will see two-way action as we already have seen some money come in on Gastelum. Some may be worried about Cannonier’s layoff, but closer to fight week, I expect sharp money to come in on Cannonier and have him close around a -250 to -260 favorite.