Will Jared Cannonier add to Kelvin Gastelum’s tough stretch?

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MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s prime bouts. In the present day, we have a look at the primary occasion for UFC on ESPN 29.

UFC on ESPN 29 takes place Saturday on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The primary card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+.

Jared Cannonier (13-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC)

Jared Cannonier

Staple data:

  • Peak: 5’11” Age: 37 Weight: 185 lbs. Attain: 77.5″

  • Final struggle: Resolution loss to Robert Whittaker (Oct. 24, 2020)

  • Camp: MMA Lab (Arizona)

  • Stance/hanging fashion: Orthodox/kickboxing

  • Threat administration: Good

Supplemental data: + Regional MMA titles + 9 KO victories + 2 submission wins + 7 first-round finishes + KO energy + Aggressive tempo and strain + Good mixture striker ^ Will shift stances + Onerous leg kicks + Robust contained in the clinch + Serviceable grappling skill + Exhibits improved getups/scrambles + Works effectively from topside ^ Heavy ground-and-pound +/- 1-2 towards UFC-level southpaws

Kelvin Gastelum (17-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC)

Kelvin Gastelum

Staple data:

  • Peak: 5’9″ Age: 29 Weight: 185 lbs. Attain: 71.5″

  • Final struggle: Resolution loss to Robert Whittaker (April 17, 2021)

  • Camp: Kings MMA (California)

  • Stance/hanging fashion: Southpaw/kickboxing

  • Threat administration: Truthful

Supplemental data: + “TUF 17” winner + tenth Planet jiu-jitsu black belt + Wrestling base + 6 knockout victories + 4 submission wins + 6 first-round finishes + KO energy + Aggressive tempo and strain + Misleading hand velocity ^ Correct left hand + Onerous left kicks + Robust contained in the clinch ^ Strong wrestling and scrambles + Robust from front-headlock ^ Will search for the again

Focal point: Pace vs. energy

Sep 28, 2019; Copenhagen, DEN; Jack Hermansson (pink gloves) fights Jared Cannonier (blue gloves) throughout UFC Battle Evening at Royal Enviornment. Obligatory Credit score: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports activities

The primary occasion on ESPN options an attention-grabbing middleweight matchup that can pit velocity towards energy. Steadily creating a hard-hitting sport since stepping onto the UFC scene, [autotag]Jared Cannonier[/autotag] has made marked enhancements below the care of John Crouch and the remainder of the teaching employees at The MMA Lab. Now, transferring far more easily, Cannonier can shift his stance pre or post-combination, punctuating his presence with better impact than earlier than. Sometimes using strain to create openings for offense, Cannonier retains laborious pictures on a hair-trigger, prepared to return ahead or counter on the drop of a dime. The ten-year professional has additionally seemingly picked up his stablemate’s knack for throwing the calf kick (or low leg kicks), displaying the power to assault his opponent’s decrease extremities from each stances. Nonetheless, Cannonier remains to be not past being kicked or countered himself, as he’ll must respect the deceptively quick fingers of [autotag]Kelvin Gastelum[/autotag]. Stepping onto the scene as an inherent pressure-fighter who didn’t concern measurement discrepancies, we’ve seen Gastelum’s hanging expertise come to fruition below the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. Having a historical past of reworking high-level grapplers (particularly southpaws) into harmful strikers, Cordeiro has seemingly imparted the identical data onto Gastelum, who now incorporates crushing liver kicks or laborious leg assaults to his already potent punches. Staying within the Southern California scene, we even have watched Gastelum make regular enhancements to his boxing and footwork. Pivoting extra off of his proper hand, Gastelum will generally take higher angles so as to get the leap on opponents mid-exchange. Although I want to see Gastelum mud off his verify proper hook a bit extra for this struggle, I additionally wouldn’t be stunned to see him combine in additional level-changing threats.

Focal point: Grappling with the gorilla

Nov 2, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (pink gloves) fights Darren Until (blue gloves) throughout UFC 244 at Madison Sq. Backyard. Obligatory Credit score: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports activities

Contemplating the place Gastelum’s on-paper benefits lie, I’d not be shocked to see him attempt to take this struggle to the ground. Regardless of trending away out of your typical offensive wrestling sport for first rate stretches of his profession, Gastelum reminded the lots that he possesses professional takedown expertise in his struggle with Ian Heinisch and has labored with Henry Cejudo forward of this Saturday. Even when he isn’t initiating or profitable the grappling exchanges at first, the Mexican-American fighter has a knack for turning issues round and making fights soiled when he must. That mentioned, Gastelum should hit some turbulence if he miscalculates his wrestling efforts with Cannonier, who has made noticeable enhancements in each the grappling and counter-wrestling departments. Towards David Department, we not solely noticed how Cannonier’s energy stacks up at 185 kilos, however we additionally noticed him using underhooks and cage protection extra correctly than earlier than. And although the previous heavyweight tended to retain guard a bit an excessive amount of for my liking on the subject of MMA, Cannonier has not too long ago proven that he can create house and scramble when vital, both by placing his ft on the hips and pushing off or turtling to face from bother spots. The potential downside with that method, nevertheless, is that Cannonier could not get away with these strategies as simply down at middleweight. Cannonier, in his protection, was in a position to thwart the again takes of Department (who tried to abuse him anytime he turtled), however turtling may also enable for front-headlock grasps – which is a place Gastelum works effectively from. A pure inside a scramble, Gastelum reveals a strong sense of positional consciousness at any time when using grips or transitioning from front-headlock grasps. And when he decides to get going, the Arizona state champion’s wrestling chops shine via in the way in which through which he goes about his enterprise. Whether or not he’s floating from a front-headlock collection or utilizing a Peterson or Granby roll to create reversal alternatives, Gastelum is usually a handful for any fighter not aware of that form of repertoire. That mentioned, Gastelum isn’t past giving his again when returning to his base, as he’ll must thoughts the ham hocks that Cannonier makes use of to attain large in small areas.

Focal point: Odds and opinions

Sep 28, 2019; Copenhagen, DEN; Jared Cannonier (blue gloves) is interviewed after defeating Jack Hermansson (not pictured) throughout UFC Battle Evening at Royal Enviornment. Obligatory Credit score: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports activities

The oddsmakers and public appear to be favoring the bigger man, itemizing Cannonier -160 and Gastelum +125 at Tipico as of this writing. No matter who you are favoring, it is a laborious struggle to name for a lot of causes. Gastelum, who I used to be initially taking a look at as a reside canine, possesses all the talents to attain the upset on paper. Between Gastelum’s insane sturdiness and his skill to wrestle, I’d not be shocked to see the Kings MMA consultant survive early storms so as to draw back late by way of stymying grappling strain. However given Gastelum’s propensity to each provoke and ensue in scrambles, I am undecided how a lot he’ll be capable of rating below right now’s standards towards a getup-savvy Cannonier (who has proven no signal of slowing down in fights at 185 kilos). Add in the truth that Gastelum has had historically porous protection on the subject of checking kicks, and I think that Cannonier’s pattern of destroying legs continues on this Saturday. It is admittedly not a assured decide as I am going with the arguably much less sturdy fighter by choice, however imagine that the extra visually damaging combatant shall be Cannonier ought to the struggle make it that far.

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