UFC announces headliner between Chito Vera and Cory Sandhagen

Nov 6, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Marlon Vera (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Frankie Edgar (red gloves) during UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC announced a banger of a Fight Night headliner in February earlier this morning. It was announced that Marlon “Chito” Vera (22-7-1) would be taking on “The Sandman” Cory Sandhagen (15-4). The fight will headline a UFC Fight Night on February 18th.

For Chito Vera, this fight will represent another step up as he nears a potential title shot. Since losing to Jose Aldo back in 2020, Vera has been perfect. Chito has won four straight fights and he continues to look better and better with each performance.

The last time we saw him was back in August against former champion Dominick Cruz. The fight was extremely close through the first three rounds with potentially Cruz being up. However, Vera dropped the hammer in the fourth with a head kick knockout. The second straight head kick knockout of a former UFC champion for Vera.

UFC title shot on the line?

The next month, Cory Sandhagen was headlining a UFC Fight Night as well. He was taking on Song Yadong and Sandhagen was looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. Prior to his headliner against Song, he lost a decision to Petr Yan in an interim title fight.

Both men had moments in the headliner, but Sandhagen’s slashing strikes did a ton of damage. By the end of the fourth round, the doctor couldn’t allow Song Yadong to continue and Sandhagen got the TKO win. Now, he’s right back in the title picture against Chito Vera.

Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo are expected to fight for the title sometime in March. Sean O’Malley is expected to fight the winner in the spring. My guess is that whoever wins this fight will likely fight for the title in the fall or they’ll need one more win before getting a shot.