Jared Cannonier’s prize is fair to defeat Gastelum

LAS VEGAS – Jared Cannonier was a decent heavyweight and a good light heavyweight. But he is at the top of the rung as a middleweight and poses a threat to all men in the division.

He’s ranked third in the UFC middleweight division and just suffered his only middleweight loss, against ex-champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254.

On Saturday at Apex, he will face ninth Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Vegas 34 in a key fight. At BetMGM, Cannonier is a -150 favorite, with Gastelum at +125.

That’s attractively priced for Cannonier, who is two inches taller and has a huge six-inch reach advantage.

Both fighters did their best at middleweight, but they achieved it in different ways. Cannonier stepped down from heavyweights and Gastelum moved up from middleweights.

This is a key point for the flow of the fight, as it seems Gastelum’s best bet will be to put Cannonier on his back. Cannonier has better hit accuracy (52% to 42%) and better hit defense (64% to 57%).

Considering he’s taller and stronger, it would likely be a strategic mistake for him to try and stand alongside Cannonier. But Cannonier’s size will help him defend Gastelum’s withdrawal. Whittaker was 0-for-2 against Cannonier and it’s hard to imagine Gastelum being more successful.

Gastelum is a good technical striker with quick hands, but Cannonier has that brutal 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 fair. So I’m going to deposit two units on Cannonier at -150, risking $ 300 with the expectation of a profit of $ 200.

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

Other games for UFC Vegas 34

• I will place the -175 on Mark O. Madsen to defeat Clay Guida.

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

• I take the +115 and I bet on Sasha Palatnikov to defeat Ramiz Brahimaj.

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