Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., Aug, 21, 2021) to stage UFC Vegas 34 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Jared Cannonier defeated Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Mark Madsen narrowly escaped with a split decision win over long-time veteran, Clay Guida.
Biggest Winner: Jared Cannonier
It wasn’t a walk in the park, but Cannonier picked up a huge win over Gastelum to put him back in the win column. Ranked No. 3 in the promotion’s Middleweight division, “Killa Gorilla” likely set himself up to be in the running for a championship fight against Israel Adesanya, who will most likely first rematch Robert Whittaker. Adesanya was already lobbying for a fight against Cannonier a while back, so “Killa Gorilla” is sitting pretty at the moment in the championship picture following his latest win.
Runner Up: Alexandre Pantoja
Current UFC Flyweight champion, Brandon Moreno, doesn’t have a dance partner just yet for his first title defense, though all signs point to Askar Askarov. But, since nothing is official, Pantoja took his shot and called out “The Baby Faced Assassin” after scoring a big submission win over Brandon Royval, giving him his second straight victory. And he has a great chance of landing the fight because not only is he ranked No. 3, he is the last man to defeat Moreno, toppling him via unanimous decision in 2018. The potential rematch against the Mexican-born champion sells itself, so it wouldn’t be a shocker if the promotion took this route.
Biggest Loser: Kelvin Gastelum
Coming into the event, Gastelum was the fighter we felt needed a win the most since he was just 1-4 in his last five fights under the UFC banner. Now, the former The Ultimate Fighte (TUF) winner is 1-5 in his last six after coming up short against the aforementioned Cannonier, giving him his second straight defeat. It’s not like Gastelum is getting dominated or finished during his bad stretch, he has actually been very competitive with every high-ranked foe he’s faced since 2019 sans his lightning-quick submission loss to Jack Hermansson. But, that fact remains he has only won a single fight during this stretch. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I’d roll the dice in saying the promotion likely won't cut him after coming up short in his last bout. That being said, a big fight likely won’t be in his future right away should the promotion keep him around. Gastelum will also have to go back to the drawing board to see what changes he has to make to start closing out fights.
For complete UFC Vegas 34 results and coverage, including play-by-play updates, click here.