UFC on ESPN 27 is set to be headlined by former two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen on the 24th of July at the UFC Apex in Nevada.
A fight for the #1 contender’s spot in the Bantamweight division is right around the corner. The #2 ranked Cory Sandhagen who has a professional record of 14 – 2- 0 will take on the unranked but former UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw who has not set foot inside the octagon for over two and a half years due to a suspension. The last time we saw Dillashaw in the Octagon was when he cut his weight down to fight in the flyweight division and challenge Henry Cejudo for his belt where he was done in for using performance-enhancing drugs to cut the weight.
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T.J. who has been out of the MMA scene for a while now asked for a match-up against any of the top five contenders as he aims to get his belt back. He said, “Dude, I’m coming back. I’m 35 years old. I want my belt back, I never lost it. I’m here to prove a point that I’m the best in the world and what better way to go at it then get back right to the top? Cory Sandhagen is a great opponent. I trained a ton with him and he’s a great athlete, but it’s a great fight for me”
As for Cory, he goes into the fight with 4 wins in his last five MMA bouts which includes a two-fight win streak. His single defeat was against current Champion Aljamain Sterling but Cory did well to bounce back from that defeat as he beat Frankie Edgar with a flying knee knockout in the first round at UFC Vegas 18.
Sandhagen believes that he has an advantage in the fight with Dillashaw. He said, “I get all the advantages that I have going into every fight where I get to be longer, I get to be usually quicker than everyone, and I get to use that fully to my advantage. I get to stand at a range where I can hit them and they can’t hit me and until they do something about it, I can stick with that”
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Sandhagen, who is taller than Dillashaw has a two-inch reach advantage along with 1.5-inch leg reach advantage coming into this bout. Leaving the reach advantage aside, the fight could very well turn into a grappler’s treat with Sandhagen holding a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while his opponent holds a purple belt in BJJ and a black belt in Bang Muay Thai.
PREDICTION: Cory Sandhagen to win via knockout
Dillashaw has a chance of getting the win but he must avoid getting taken down. In his last fight with Henry Cejudo, it took Cejudo just seconds to knock him down with a big right and from there on the fight went into a grappling mode where after a while Dillashaw got tired and ended up at the other end of some ground and pound strikes from Cejudo. If Sandhagen does manage to take him down it could mean nothing but trouble for Dillashaw.
[Image Credit: Brawlers MMA]