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, Jared Cannonier defeated Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision after five rounds of action (see it again here). Also, Mark Madsen defeated Clay Guida via split decision, while Alexandre Pantoja forced Brandon Royval to tap via rear-naked choke (watch highlights).
Winner: Jared Cannonier
Who He Should Face Next: Costa vs Vettori winner
While nothing is official just yet, Israel Adesanya will likely defend his title against Robert Whittaker later this year. In the meantime, the next title contender could emerge because Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori are set to collide on Oct. 23, 2021. However, the winner of that bout won’t be get a shot at the title since they were both schooled by Adesanya in their previous bouts. Instead, the victor should face Cannonier in a title eliminator bout. It’s really the only move to make here so let’s not overthink it.
Winner: Mark Madsen
Who He Should Face Next: Vince Pichel
Madsen had to work to remain undefeated against Guida, narrowly defeating “The Carpenter” via split decision. The victory was Madsen’s third in a row inside the Octagon, the same streak Pichel is riding with under the UFC banner. Pichel defeated Austin Hubbard via unanimous decision, bringing his record to 7-2 inside the eight-walled cage. Pitting the two 155-pound rising contenders against each other makes sense since they are both scratching and crawling to get into the Top 15. Plus, their turnaround times would likely line up with one another.
Winner: Parker Porter
Who He Should Fight Next: Marcin Prachnio
Porter picked up his second straight win, defeating Chase Sherman via unanimous decision. While the Heavyweight division isn’t as stacked as it once was, it’s going to take a lot more work to crack the Top 15 for Porter. Up next for the hard-hitting big man, a fight against Prachnio seems fitting. Prachnio is also riding a two-fight win streak after losing his first two contests inside the Octagon, but is also far out from earning a spot in the rankings. The winner of this potential big man scrap would get closer to his goal with a three-fight win streak in his back pocket.
Winner: Saidyokub Kakhramonov
Who He Should Face Next: Julio Arce
Kakhramonov made a splash in his UFC debut, earning a submission win over Trevin Jones in a fight he took on short notice. As a UFC newcomer, there aren’t a ton of fights he can ask for and get at the moment, so taking anything available is the best course of action for him. Arce, meanwhile, is coming off a big technical knockout win over Andre Ewell a couple of months ago, putting him back in the win column after losing a razor-thin split decision to Hakeem Dawodu.
Winner: Alexandre Pantoja
Who He Should Face Next: Brandon Moreno title fight ... maybe?
Pantoja made a strong case for a shot at a 125-pound title fight by scoring a big win over Brandon Royval. Askar Askarov was likely the first man in line to get first crack at trying to dethrone division champion Brandon Moreno had he scored a win over Alex Perez this past July, but he was forced out of the fight with a broken hand and there is no telling when he will be ready to fight again. If Moreno is ready to defend his belt soon, then the fight should go to Pantoja, a man who already has a win over “The Baby Faced Assassin,” defeating him in 2018 after 15 minutes of action. It’s a rematch the makes sense, sells itself and makes life a lot easier of UFC matchmakers. That said, if Askarov — who is undefeated at 14-0-1 and fought to a draw with Moreno — is feeling better in a few months, the fight will likely go to him.
For complete UFC Vegas 34 results and coverage click here.