Main Event: Jared Cannonier vs Kelvin Gastelum
Key Stats: 3.7 strikes landed per minute, 8:47 average fight time, 54% takedown defense
What It Means: Cannonier is at his most comfortable and dangerous when he is walking down his opponent. He doesn’t mind taking some damage as he enters the pocket, and he is patient in looking for his power shots. His kicks come quickly, and he relies on them to get into range, especially low leg kicks. Once he starts chopping at his opponent’s base, he really lets go of his heavy hands, and he’s able to generate power both with looping and technical punches. In the clinch, Cannonier shows great strength, especially against the fence.
Key Stats: 6 knockdowns landed (5th), 3.52 strikes landed per minute, 1.16 takedowns per 15 minutes
What It Means: Gastelum is adept at bouncing in and out of range and making up for often being the shorter fighter in matchups. He has legit knockout power, particularly with his left hand, and he’ll unleash that weapon early and often. At times, he’ll choose to bounce on the outside until he darts in and finds his target, but if he feels comfortable, he has shown the ability to mix things up and attack from a wrestling base as well.
What to Look For in the Fight: These two knockout artists approach things similarly in terms of the patience they exhibit, especially early in fights. Cannonier opens up more with kicks than Gastelum, who likes to probe on the outside, ready to unleash a flurry of bombs once they enter the pocket. Gastelum might have some success in shooting on Cannonier and trying to get the fight to the ground, but if the bout stays on the feet, it’s really a matter of who lands the big knockout shot first.
Co-Main Event: Clay Guida vs Mark O. Madsen
Key Stats: 70 takedowns (tied-4th all-time), 1:53:17 control time (1st all-time among LW), 57 takedowns landed (3rd all-time among LW)
What It Means: Guida is an all-time grinder with an endless gas tank. He isn’t shy about getting into a grimy, ugly fight, and he often thrives in pushing the pace where others falter. His wrestling ability is baked into that attitude as well, and his vast experience shines in moments when he chooses to pressure his opponent on his feet and when he decides to test their defensive grappling.
*Mark O. Madsen
Key Stats: 8.33 takedowns per 15 minutes, 64% takedown accuracy, 2.28 strikes landed per minute
What It Means: Madsen is most notable for his Olympic-caliber wrestling, and through two UFC fights, he has used that ability to squeeze his opponent’s out of their Plan A. He is incredibly strong and keen on using his leverage. Through two UFC fights, he has shown improvements in striking, but he is definitely looking to get the fight to the mat at all times.
What to Look For in the Fight: The fight will almost definitely be marked by how well Madsen can handle Guida’s pace and pressure. Madsen has occasionally faded in moments after going for big-energy actions in takedowns, and that’s where Guida thrives. Neither man spends much time on their back, so the scrambles should be pretty fun. On the feet, Guida is more proven, but given Madsen’s extensive time off before this fight, it’s fair to wonder if he has cleaned up his own striking.
Other Fights to Watch (Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval)
Key Stats: 4.3 strikes landed per minute (4th all-time among FLW), 47.9% significant strike accuracy (5th all-time among FLW), +0.91 striking differential (3rd)
RELATED: Pantoja's Opportunity
What It Means: Pantoja is an all-action fighter with a well-rounded finishing record. Although his ground game is rock solid and he has shown a slick submission ability, he seems to love getting into the pocket and throwing his hands. The more his opponent engages in a firefight, the more he welcomes it. If he does kick, it’s often low to the calf, but he seems most comfortable throwing his hands.
Key Stats: 3.77 strikes landed per minute, 46% striking accuracy, 6:22 average fight time
What It Means: Through the early chapters of his UFC career, Royval has proven to be a bit of a chaos agent in the most exciting way. He always seems to be fighting at full throttle, and he’s comfortable in that headspace both in grappling and striking. He can be an unpredictable striker, willing to throw spinning techniques after being rocked, and the same goes for his ground game. He is a strong wrestler, but he is perhaps most dangerous off his back, where he will throw up a multitude of submissions.
What to Look For in the Fight: This has the makings of a high-paced, highly entertaining fight. Pantoja and Royval can both bring a fight-changing moment, whether they’re pressing forward or on the back foot. Royval is probably the more willing grappler, but Pantoja isn’t out of his depths there either. Pantoja is a bit more disciplined in all areas, but Royval, despite his chaotic nature in the Octagon, always seems pretty comfortable in any spot.
*Hasn’t competed in weight class enough to qualify in UFC Record Book
(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of August 18, 2021, and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)