UFC Combat Evening viewers information: Can Jared Cannonier reside as much as lofty expectations this time?


It is time for Jared Cannonier to indicate us who he’s.

Simply 10 months in the past, every little thing was laid out for Cannonier (13-5). He was 3-0 as a UFC middleweight, and the defending champion of his division, Israel Adesanya, was saying his identify — as a substitute of the opposite method round. Adesanya wished to struggle Cannonier. A title shot was principally imminent.

Till Cannonier misplaced to Robert Whittaker in a five-round principal occasion in October.

And that is been the story with Cannonier, who faces Kelvin Gastelum (17-7) at UFC Combat Evening on Saturday in Las Vegas. It has been simple to get enthusiastic about Cannonier. When he wins, he seems spectacular doing so. He seems to have all the intangibles. He is athletic, highly effective, well-rounded and an clever competitor.

However should you examine his profession, it is honest to say he has come up quick in his greatest checks. When he was at gentle heavyweight, he could not beat Jan Blachowicz (the present champ). Nor might he get by Dominick Reyes (a former title challenger) or Glover Teixeira (the following title challenger).

When he dropped to middleweight in 2018, he started his run with three consecutive finishes — though, it bears mentioning the three opponents he beat (David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson) are a mixed 3-8 for the reason that begin of 2018. As soon as Cannonier ran right into a former champ in Whittaker, he took his first loss within the weight class.

There is a cause Cannonier is the UFC’s No. 3-ranked middleweight. And there are causes Adesanya was excited a couple of potential matchup towards him. He could be dominant; he has proven that functionality. He is a really harmful process for anybody on any given night time. He could be a really intriguing title challenger.

And that title shot is correct there for the taking, however Cannonier has to win the form of struggle that is in entrance of him on Saturday. He has to show he can put away an elite opponent, which Gastelum is. If Cannonier does that, I consider we’ll see him in a title struggle in 2022, and I consider the game shall be very excited for it.

The primary card of UFC Combat Evening is on ESPN and ESPN+ on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET, with the prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at 7 p.m.

By the numbers

2: Fighters with knockouts in three UFC weight courses. Cannonier is one among them, scoring KOs at heavyweight and light-weight heavy earlier than doing so at middleweight. The opposite is Conor McGregor (featherweight, light-weight, welterweight).

5: Combat-night bonuses awarded to Gastelum, tying him for fourth most amongst lively middleweights.

84.6%: End fee for Cannonier (9 KOs and two submissions in 13 wins). Gastelum additionally has 11 UFC finishes (six KOs, 5 submissions), however he has 17 wins, placing his end fee at 65%.

1-4: Gastelum’s file since April 2019, when he misplaced to Israel Adesanya in an interim title bout. Previous to that, Gastelum had been 10-3 within the UFC with one no contest.

6: Knockdowns within the UFC by Gastelum, rating him fifth amongst lively 185-pounders.

Sources: ESPN Stats & Info and UFC Stats

5 vs. 5

Jared Cannonier’s most up-to-date outcomes
Loss: Robert Whittaker (UD, Oct. 24, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Jack Hermansson (TKO2, Sept. 28, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Anderson Silva (TKO1, Could 11, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Win: David Branch (TKO2, Nov. 3, 2018)
Loss: Dominick Reyes (TKO1, Could 19, 2018)

Kelvin Gastelum’s most up-to-date outcomes
Loss: Robert Whittaker (UD, April 17, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Ian Heinisch (UD, Feb. 13, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Loss: Jack Hermansson (Sub1, July 19, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Loss: Darren Till (SD, Nov. 2, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Loss: Israel Adesanya (UD, April 13, 2019; watch on ESPN+)

And the winner is …

“It is fascinating as a result of they’re polar opposites, in my view,” mentioned James Krause, MMA Glory coach. “What I like about Cannonier is his power all the time appears to hold, as a result of he handled heavyweights previously. He is very athletic, very explosive. Good hand velocity. And Gastelum, I actually do not have a look at him as tremendous athletic. I do not have a look at him as tremendous quick. However one factor he’s, he is deceivingly quick. His timing is unbelievable. He places combos collectively rather well.”

Take a look at how Krause and different specialists break down the main event and predict a winner.

Learn how to watch the fights

Watch the principle card on ESPN and prelims on ESPN2; all the fights are on ESPN+. Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV schedule

Haven’t got ESPN or ESPN2? Get instant access.

Haven’t got ESPN+? Get it here.

There’s additionally FightCenter, which presents reside updates for each UFC card.

Saturday’s struggle card

ESPN/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Middleweight: Jared Cannonier vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Light-weight: Clay Guida vs. Mark O. Madsen
Heavyweight: Chase Sherman vs. Parker Porter
Males’s bantamweight: Saidyokub Kakhramonov vs. Trevin Jones
Light-weight: Vinc Pichel vs. Austin Hubbard
Flyweight: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval
ESPN2/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Males’s featherweight: Austin Lingo vs. Luis Saldana
Males’s bantamweight: Brian Kelleher vs. Domingo Pilarte
Ladies’s bantamweight: Bea Malecki vs. Josiane Nunes
Mild Heavyweight: William Knight vs. Fabio Cherant
Light-weight: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Ignacio Bahamondes
Welterweight: Sasha Palatnikov vs. Ramiz Brahimaj

4 extra issues to know (from ESPN Stats & Info)

1. The co-main occasion options one of many UFC’s most skilled fighters. Clay Guida (36-17), who takes on undefeated light-weight Mark O. Madsen, will enter the Octagon for the thirty first time, breaking a tie with Rafael Dos Anjos for the seventh-most fights in UFC historical past. The 39-year-old Guida, who was the inaugural Strikeforce light-weight champion 15 years in the past, holds UFC light-weight data for many management time (1:53:17) and most prime place time (1:24:02).

2. Bea Malecki (4-0) could have the one different undefeated file on the road when she faces UFC newcomer Josiane Nunes in a preliminary bout. With a win, Malecki would change into the eighth fighter to start out a UFC profession with three wins at girls’s bantamweight (becoming a member of ex-champs Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm).

3. A matchup of prime flyweights kicks off the principle card, as Alexandre Pantoja, No. 7 in ESPN’s 125-pound males’s rankings, faces ninth-ranked Brandon Royval. For Royval, that is his first look since struggling a shoulder damage in a TKO loss final November to Brandon Moreno, who went on to win the championship.

4. William Knight, who faces gentle heavyweight Fabio Cherant, is the most important betting favourite on the cardboard, at -290 at Caesars Sportsbook as of Monday. Ought to these odds maintain, this is able to be the primary occasion since UFC 262 in Could and not using a favourite of -250 or larger. There have been 9 occasions since then.

ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim contributed to this struggle preview.

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