Cannonier bests Gastelum in profession efficiency

MMA

Jared Cannonier has been within the UFC for six years, competing in three totally different weight divisions. He is nearer to 40 years previous than 30.

But, on Saturday night time, the previous Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worker put forth maybe his most spectacular efficiency within the Octagon. Cannonier bested Kelvin Gastelum by way of unanimous determination (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) in a poised exhibiting in the principle occasion of UFC Combat Evening in Las Vegas.

“It is all the time wonderful to go 5 rounds with a man like Kelvin at that stage,” Cannonier mentioned in his postfight interview. “Profitable is much more wonderful, if you’ll. I am completely satisfied.”

Cannonier made all the best changes after a detailed early portion of the struggle, dropped Gastelum with a proper hook within the third after which put a stamp on the outing within the late rounds. It was the primary time Cannonier has ever gained a five-round determination in his profession and solely his first profitable determination since 2016.

Usually, the explosive Cannonier can finish a struggle with one punch or kick. However Saturday confirmed he (and his coach John Crouch of The MMA Lab) might outpoint a wily veteran like Gastelum.

ESPN has Cannonier ranked No. 5 on this planet at middleweight. Gastelum, in the meantime, is the person who gave UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya his most troublesome check but at 185 kilos.

Afterward, Cannonier mentioned he’d like to get the subsequent shot at Adesanya, however he may need to struggle once more earlier than an opportunity on the belt as a consequence of a light-weight checking account. Adesanya could be very prone to defend subsequent in opposition to former champion Robert Whittaker.

“I am broke, so I must struggle,” Cannonier mentioned. “Hopefully I get that title shot. However the best title would possibly make me say sure.”

Cannonier got here out within the first spherical touchdown huge combos and calf kicks in a robust first spherical. Gastelum rallied within the second spherical and appeared to take momentum, touchdown onerous 1-2 combos out of the southpaw stance, together with a number of with straight left fingers that snapped Cannonier’s head again.

The third spherical was pivotal within the struggle. Cannonier switched to southpaw and whipped a proper hook that dropped Gastelum within the opening seconds of the spherical. Cannonier actually by no means gave again management after that, though Gastelum was in a position to pop proper again up.

Cannonier once more landed the tougher pictures within the fourth spherical earlier than Gastelum mounted a mini comeback within the fifth with some stable combos.

“I am ambidextrous, so I might go each methods and I can struggle very successfully out of each stances,” Cannonier mentioned. … “After I dropped him, I used to be in search of [the right hook out of southpaw] like loopy, however I could not discover it once more.”

Cannonier (14-4) would have earned a title shot with a win in his earlier bout, however he fell to Whittaker by way of unanimous determination final October. The Texas native, who fights out of Arizona, was on a three-fight profitable streak previous to that loss.

Cannonier, 37, is one in all solely two males (Conor McGregor being the opposite) to win by way of KO/TKO in three totally different UFC divisions. He began his UFC run at heavyweight after leaving a job doing upkeep on site visitors management tools for the FAA, weighing greater than 300 kilos. He then moved to mild heavyweight and now competes at a shredded 185 kilos.

“After a hard-fought win like that, hell yeah I would like the title,” Cannonier mentioned on the ESPN+ postfight present. “However it’s lower than me. It is as much as the matchmakers and the UFC brass. I simply went on the market and did the perfect I might to ship a message.”

Gastelum (16-8, 1 NC) started his UFC profession as a welterweight prospect after profitable the Final Fighter middleweight crown in 2013. The California native, who skilled out of Arizona this camp with former UFC double champion Henry Cejudo, moved to middleweight after struggles on the size in 2016 and emerged as a contender, going through Adesanya for the interim title in 2019.

It was a dropping effort, but it surely was an all-action bout that was maybe the perfect of that yr. Gastelum, 29, has misplaced 5 of his previous six fights, together with that barnburner in opposition to Adesanya. His energy of schedule has been a few of the finest in any division.

“I am gonna maintain whooping folks’s butts,” Cannonier mentioned, “and maintain gathering these checks.”

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