UFC Vegas 34: Main Event Recap

Main Event Coverage UFC Vegas 34 by Fringe MMA

Well here we are and its UFC main event time with Kelvin Gastelum taking on Jared Cannonier at the top of the UFC Vegas 34 fight card. I, for one, have been pretty excited to watch this clash and see if Cannonier is able to get past the grinding Kelvin Gastelum with his signature kicks.

As the fight kicked off the two took a few minutes to gage range and Cannonier seemed a little hesitant to crack off one of his thudding leg kicks, giving Kelvin a lot of respect it would seem. The first round was a bit of popping shots going nowhere in the feeling out process. It seemed to be a fairly complacent round and likely scored a draw in my eyes. The second was pretty much more of the same though it seemed Kelvin was starting to find his pace with Cannonier seeming a bit like a robot that someone forgot to enter commands into.

The third however would change things up a bit and Cannonier was starting to unleash a bit more of his arsenal of kicks, but it was the punch that really popped as he caught Gastelum with a perfectly timed shot that put him on the canvas, albeit briefly. Still though, Cannonier seemed to be giving him way too much respect which allowed him to recover quickly and get back into the fight with takedown attempts and clinch work.

The 4th and 5th were mostly Kelvin controlling the action and catching a takedown, though Jared was quick to get back to his feet against the cage. Aside getting dropped in the third, it looked to be all Kelvin from where I was sitting. I was feeling a bit bummed for Cannonier while waiting for the decision.

What a surprise when they called out a unanimous decision in favor of Jared Cannonier. UFC judging has been nothing short of suspect as of late and this one was pretty bad in my opinion. Kelvin Gastelum, record aside, is a dangerous dude and it looked to me like he clearly one the 2nd, 4th and 5th frames, largely on the back of his wrestling chops. The first could be scored a draw and the 3rd was all Canonnier. I just don’t see how anyone could say that Jared Cannonier clearly won that fight, a split decision yeah, but a sweep? Not so much.

All in all the fight was pretty much what many expected with Cannonier’s dynamic striking being muted by Kelvin’s wrestling and clinch work. But when are we going to do something about these judges?

Now, I’ve read a lot of the coverage out there talking about Cannonier returning to form and blah blah blah. I say watch that fight again and tell me that was a “return to form”, because if it is, then we are set to watch a very careful and hesitant Killa Gorilla in the future.

I’m not trying to discount Cannonier here, if nothing else his defensive wrestling was on point in this fight. This should be a shot across the bow to any fighter in the middleweight division that thinks they can simply turn to their wrestling against him. Not so fast, some of those takedowns Kelvin tried to put on him were no joke, but he easily defended some of them and even made Gastelum pay for it.

Styles make fights, so to me the right fight to make right now is putting The Killa Gorilla up against Paulo Costa. That should be a guaranteed banger right there.

As for Kelvin, UFC Las Vegas wasn’t his night in the eyes of the judges, but he really shouldn’t let that weigh on him too much. He still needs to shore up his striking a bit and work on creating openings rather than trying to force them when standing.

I think he can really be a threat if he starts the fight with his wrestling just to get it into the opponent’s mind that at any moment he can control where the fight is headed – then segue into his ever improving striking game.

Well that wraps up our coverage of the UFC Main Event tonight, until next time, have a great week. The Fringe MMA team is working on creating openings with smaller promotions to provide coverage. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we start a new series covering fighters on the way up.

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