What’s next for Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum after UFC Vegas 34?

By Cole Shelton - August 23, 2021

In the main event of UFC Vegas 34, a battle of top-10 middleweights took place as Jared Cannonier took on Kelvin Gastelum.

Jared Cannonier, UFC 254

Cannonier entered the fight coming off a decision loss to Robert Whittaker last October at UFC 254 in a fight he broke his arm. He then needed two surgeries to repair it and finally was able to return. Gastelum, meanwhile, was also coming off a decision loss to Whittaker and was just 1-4 in his last five.

In the end, it was Cannonier who got his hand raised as he won a decision. It was a close fight but Cannonier was the more active striker and even dropped Gastelum once in the fight. Now, following UFC Vegas 34, here’s what I think should be next for Jared Cannonier.

Jared Cannonier

Jared Cannonier proved he is one of the best middleweights alive and will likely be in a title eliminator fight next time out. Cannonier showed off his takedown defense and proved he has the cardio to go 25 minutes and can keep up the pace for five rounds.

After the fight, Cannonier said he wanted to be active and there are a couple of options for his next outing. However, the one that makes the most sense is to fight the winner of Darren Till vs. Derek Brunson in a Fight Night main event where the winner would earn a middleweight title shot. It would be a very intriguing matchup and given they fight on September 4, the timing works where they could fight in early 2022.

Kelvin Gastelum

Kelvin Gastelum is in a weird spot. He is 1-5 in his last six and has lost to the majority of the top-10. All his wins at middleweight are against fighters who are no longer on the roster, besides for Ian Heinisch.

Gastelum will likely take some time off and when he fights he will need a step down in competition. One fight that makes sense is to face the winner of Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Nassourdine Imavov as it’s a battle between two prospects and the winner would get a top-10 guy and at this time, Gastelum is a gatekeeper and needs three or four wins in a row to get another fight in the top-five.

What do you think should be next for Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum after UFC Vegas 34?

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