After T.J. Dillashaw pulled out the first time these two fighters were set to meet in May because of a cut above is eye, Cory Sandhagen made it clear to the UFC he wouldn't take another opponent. "Sandman" wanted Dillashaw and he'll get his wish in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
A bantamweight bout between former champion TJ Dillashaw and ranked Cory Sandhagen, both Americans, highlights the UFC Fight Night card from Las Vegas on Saturday. Sandhagen is a -195 favourite to win on the MMA odds with Dillashaw +150.
Cory Sandhagen UFC Fight Night Odds
The UFC bantamweight champion is Aljamain Sterling with Petr Yan ranked No. 1 and Sandhagen No. 2. The 29-year-old Sandhagen, who fights out of Colorado, is 14-2 in a professional career that began in 2015. Those losses were in February 2017 by unanimous decision to Jamall Emmers in the Legacy Fighting Alliance and to Sterling at UFC 250 in June 2020 by first-round submission. That was not a title fight – Sandhagen has yet to get a shot in the UFC.
“Sandman” has followed the Sterling loss with impressive wins over Marlon Moraes (second-round TKO) and against legendary Frankie Edgar (first-round KO). Sandhagen was set to get his shot at Dillashaw in early May, but Dillashaw was forced to withdraw after he suffered a cut above his eye in training. The UFC offered Sandhagen another opponent, but he passed.
“This is the fight that I wanted,” Sandhagen said. “I know that building a name is really important in this sport.”
Six of his wins are by KO/TKO, five by decision and three via submission. Sandhagen’s fights average 7:02. He lands 6.85 significant strikes per minute with 48 per cent accuracy and absorbs 3.89 strikes with 59 per cent defence. On takedowns, he averages 1.07 per 15 minutes with 50 per cent accuracy and has a takedown defence of 30 per cent.
At 5-foot-11, Sandhagen has a five-inch height advantage and also a three-inch reach edge on Dillashaw.
T.J. Dillashaw UFC Fight Night Odds
The 35-year-old Dillashaw, who fights out of California, is 16-4 but unranked because he hasn’t been in the Octagon in more than two years. The 917-day layoff is the longest of his more than 11-year career.
Dillashaw is a two-time UFC bantamweight champion, last holding the belt with a second straight win over Cody Garbrandt in August 2018. Dillashaw, one of nine UFC fighters to have two title reigns in the same weight class, attempted to win the flyweight crown over champion Henry Cejudo in January 2019 but lost by first-round TKO and then was suspended two years due to testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Dillashaw’s fights average 11:41. He has eight wins by KO/TKO (his seven knockout victories are most in UFC bantamweight divisional history), five by decision and three by submission. He has two losses each by KO/TKO and decision.
Just 5-foot-6, Dillashaw lands 5.37 significant strikes per minute with 41 per cent accuracy and absorbs 3.03 with 65 per cent defence. Dillashaw is one of three fighters in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in five straight fights. His takedown average is 1.68 per 15 minutes with 37 per cent accuracy and his defence is 86 per cent.
The winner of this bout has a good chance at a title shot next. The over-under is 3.5 rounds, with the under a -170 favourite. That it goes the distance is +160 with no at -228. Hard to believe in Dillashaw with so much time off and would be SHOCKED if this goes all five rounds.
Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw UFC Fight Night Prediction
Sandhagen by KO/TKO (priced +105).