UFC Vegas 34 betting: Can Kelvin Gastelum overcome Jared Cannonier?

·Combat columnist
·2 min read

LAS VEGAS — Jared Cannonier was a decent heavyweight and a good light heavyweight. But he’s top of the rung as a middleweight and is a threat to every man in the division.

He’s ranked third in the UFC’s middleweight division and is coming off his only middleweight loss, to ex-champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254.

On Saturday at Apex, he’ll faced ninth-ranked Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Vegas 34 in a key bout. At BetMGM, Cannonier is a -150 favorite, with Gastelum at +125.

That’s an attractive price for Cannonier, who is two inches taller and has a massive six-inch reach advantage.

Both fighters have done their best work at middleweight, but they’ve gotten there in different ways. Cannonier came down from heavyweight and Gastelum moved up from middleweight.

That’s a key point in terms of how the fight will go, because it seems like Gastelum’s best bet will be to put Cannonier on his back. Cannonier has better striking accuracy (52 percent to 42 percent) and better striking defense (64 percent to 57 percent).

Given that he’s bigger and stronger, it would probably be a mistake in strategy for him to try to stand with Cannonier. But Cannonier’s size will aid him in defending Gastelum’s takedown. Whittaker was 0-for-2 against Cannonier and it’s hard to imagine Gastelum having more success.

Gastelum is a good technical striker with fast hands, but Cannonier has that brutish power that turns the fight in his direction.

Cannonier’s physical prowess gives him the edge in this one, and at -150, the price is right. So I’ll lay two units on Cannonier at -150, risking $300 with the hope of a $200 profit.

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jared Cannonier headlines Saturday's UFC Vegas 34 at Apex in Las Vegas. (Photos via Getty Images)
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jared Cannonier headlines Saturday's UFC Vegas 34 at Apex in Las Vegas. (Photos via Getty Images)

Other plays for UFC Vegas 34

• I’ll lay the -175 on Mark O. Madsen to win over Clay Guida.

• I like Roosevelt Roberts at -145 to win over Ignacio Bahamondes.

• I’ll take the +115 and bet Sasha Palatnikov to win over Ramiz Brahimaj.

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