UFC on ESPN 29: Cannonier vs. Gastelum Preview

Ranked middleweights Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum are set to face off in the main event of Saturday’s UFC “Fight Night” card. The show will have 12 bouts in total and will take place from the UFC APEX in Las Vegsa, Nevada, USA.

Here’s a full preview of the evening.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Ramiz Brahimaj (8-3) vs. Sasha Palatnikov (6-3) (Welterweight)

Welterweights Ramiz Brahimaj and Sasha Palatnikov will fight to return to the win column in Saturday’s opening bout.

Brahimaj lost his UFC debut late last year, as a gruesome ear injury took him out of a fight against Max Griffin in the second round. He was entering the UFC after a six-fight LFA stint that resulted in four wins and two losses.

Palatnikov won his UFC debut in November, defeating Louis Cosce in what would later be crowned the “Fight of the Night” for UFC 255. He has since lost in his second UFC outing, getting submitted by Impa Kasanganay in April.

Bout 2: Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) vs. Ignacio Bahamondes (11-4) (Lightweight)

Attempting to bounce back from losing his UFC debut, Ignacio Bahamondes will meet Roosevelt Roberts on the prelims.

Bahamondes took a split decision loss in April against veteran John Makdessi. He was fighting in the UFC just five months after he secured a contract with the promotion through a victory on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Roberts will be fighting for his first win in over a year. He last appeared in September, where Kevin Croom submitted him within a round. That fight was later overturned to a no contest due to Croom testing positive for marijuana.

Before then, Roberts got stopped in the first round by veteran Jim Miller.

Bout 3: William Knight (9-2) vs. Fabio Cherant (7-2) (Light Heavyweight)

Former LFA Light Heavyweight Champion Fabio Cherant will get another shot at the UFC when fighting William Knight.

Cherant joined the UFC on short-notice last year, stepping in to face Alonzo Menifield at UFC 260. The matchup didn’t go his way, as he was stopped in just over a minute with a von flue choke.

Cherant was competing just a month after he defeated Myron Dennis in a five-round battle to become an LFA champ.

Knight is also coming off his first UFC loss, which he took in April against Da Un Jung. He won his promotional debut last year against Aleksa Camur.

Bout 4: Bea Malecki (2-0) vs. Josiane Nunes (7-1) (Bantamweight)

Undefeated bantamweight Bea Malecki will return on Saturday to face promotional newcomer Josiane Nunes.

Malecki joined the UFC in 2018 after competing on Season 28 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” She has gone undefeated in her short two-fight career, defeating Duda Santana and Veronica Macedo. Now after over a year outside of the cage, she returns.

Nunes is entering the UFC on a six-fight winning streak from the regional scene in Brazil. She has finished her past four opponents with strikes.

Bout 5: Brian Kelleher (22-12) vs. Domingo Pilarte (8-2) (Bantamweight)

Busy bantamweight Brian Kelleher will return to the cage yet again on Saturday when fighting Domingo Pilarte.

Kelleher will be looking to bounce back from a decision loss to took to Ricky Simon in February. The loss concluded an active run in 2020 and early this year that resulted in three wins and two losses.

Pilarte is coming back after 18 months out of action. He has come out of his two previous UFC bouts without a win – one through a split decision loss, and the other through a finish loss he suffered that was later overturned to a no contest.

Bout 6: Luis Saldana (15-6) vs. Austin Lingo (8-1) (Featherweight)

Attempting to build off a successful UFC debut earlier this year, Luis Saldana will meet Austin Lingo in the final prelim of the card.

Saldana picked up a unanimous decision win in April, defeating Jordan Griffin. The win extended his streak of victories to five consecutive, including a win he got over Vince Murdock on “Dana White’s Contender Series” to get into the promotion.

While Lingo lost his UFC debut to Youssef Zalal in early 2020, he came back nearly a year later to defeat Jacob Kilburn in January.

Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 7: Alexandre Pantoja (23-5) vs. Brandon Royval (12-5) (Flyweight)

A high-level flyweight bout between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval will open Saturday’s main card.

Royval was one fight away from a title spot last year, losing an unofficial title eliminator fight to now-champion Brandon Moreno in November of 2020. Royval was taken out of the bout late in the first round due to a shoulder injury he suffered.

Royval quickly went up through the UFC ranks in 2020, scoring submission wins over both Tim Elliott and Kai Kara-France.

Pantoja has flipped between winning and losing against top flyweights as of late. His sole fight over the past year was in February, where he spoiled the UFC debut of former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape.

Bout 8: Vinc Pichel (13-2) vs. Austin Hubbard (13-5) (Lightweight)

Season 16 “TUF” member Vinc Pichel will meet Austin Hubbard as part of the main card.

Pichel, 38, has put together an impressive UFC record through the years but has not been incredibly active in the sport. He currently has six wins and two losses in the UFC, and is on a two-fight win streak.

He last fought in August of last year, defeating fellow veteran Jim Miller via unanimous decision.

Hubbard made his UFC debut just a month before Pichel’s second most recent fight. In that time. Hubbard has competed six times, attaining a trio of wins and losses each.

Both of Hubbard’s recent wins as of late have come against short-notice opponents. Most recently he defeated LFA alum Dakota Bush via scorecards in April.

Bout 9: Trevin Jones (13-6) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (8-2) (Bantamweight)

Former CFFC Bantamweight Champion Saidyokub Kakhramonov will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against a rising Trevin Jones.

Jones was originally scheduled to face Fury FC champ Mana Martinez. However, plans had to change after Martinez withdrew. This continued troubles for Jones, who also had two bouts cancelled in July.

Luckily for Jones, Kakhramonov took the fight just earlier this week. He has an impressive pro record that includes victories like a fight against former UFC signee Askar Askar and a CFFC title win against Tycen Lynn.

Kakhramonov missed weight for his bout at Friday’s weigh-ins, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the limit.

Jones is entering the fight with a significant amount of momentum. He scored his first official win in March, finishing Mario Bautista in the second round with strikes. His previous fight, an upset win against Timur Valiev, was overturned to a no contest due to a drug test detecting marijuana.

Bout 10: Chase Sherman (15-7) vs. Parker Porter (11-6) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweights Chase Sherman and Parker Porter are set to finally meet.

Sherman and Porter were first scheduled to fight in April, but that bout was later removed from a lineup. Sherman still fought on that card, taking a decision loss against veteran Andrei Arlovski.

Porter earned his first UFC win last year, defeating Josh Parisian on scorecards. That came just three months after he lost his promotional debut to Chris Daukaus.

Bout 11: Clay Guida (36-20) vs. Mark O. Madsen (10-0) (Lightweight)

Undefeated lightweight Mark O. Madsen will get a big challenge in Saturday’s co-main event when facing veteran Clay Guida.

Madsen has earned 10 wins since turning pro in 2013. Two of those have taken place in the UFC, as he has defeated Danilo Belluardo and Austin Hubbard. He has been sidelined for quite some time now, with his last fight dating back to March of 2020.

Guida has lost three of his last five, but is coming off a victory over Michael Johnson from February.

Bout 12: Jared Cannonier (13-5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-7) (Middleweight)

Ranked middleweights Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum could compete for up to five rounds in the main event of this weekend’s UFC “Fight Night” card.

Gastelum has lost four of his last five fights, although many matchups have come against some of the best in the weight class. He most recently lost a five-round fight to former champ Robert Whittaker in April. Earlier losses in the current run came against former title challenger Darren Till and now-UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.

Gastelum’s last victory was in February, where he took a unanimous decision over Ian Heinisch.

Like Gastelum, Cannonier is coming off a loss against Whittaker. He fought against him in the fall last year, losing via decision after three rounds. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak that he had obtained in 2018 and 2019.

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