UFC Nashville Recap: Cory Sandhagen wins a decision over Rob Font

Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Cory Sandhagen (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Marlon Vera (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

Inn the main event of UFC Nashville, we saw a banger of a main event in the bantamweight division. Former interim title challenger Cory “The Sandman” Sandhagen (16-4) returned as he was taking on Rob Font (20-6). Originally, Sandhagen was supposed to face Umar Nurmagomedov.

However, Nurmagomedov had to pull out of the fight and Font stepped in. Because of the short notice nature, the two top bantamweights are competing at a catchweight of 140 pounds tomorrow night. Sandhagen enters the octagon riding a two-fight winning streak.

After falling short to Petr Yan for the interim title which was his second straight loss, Sandhagen has really turned things around. A dominant finish over Song Yadong and a one-sided decision win over Chito Vera has him right back in the title picture.

Rob Font was looking to get back into the title picture as well. Font had won four straight which earned him a shot against Jose Aldo in December 2021. He was dominated in that fight and then was dominated by Chito Vera. However, after taking a year off, he stopped Adrian Yanez in the first round. He was looking to make another statement at UFC Nashville.

UFC Nashville Recap

Round 1

The UFC Nashville main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Font takes the center and fires a low kick. Lots of stance switches from Sandhagen and he immediately shoots for a takedown. Several scrambles later and Sandhagen ends up on top. Font is looking for a guillotine but he doesn’t have good lock on it.

Another scramble and Sandhagen is out. Font now attacking a kimura and both settle into position. Another scramble by Font and they are back to the feet. Big shot from Sandhagen lands and now a low kick from The Sandman. Double jab from Font and then he lands a nice uppercut. Another double leg attempt from Sandhagen and he gets Font down.

Font looks to scramble again and he nearly gets back to his feet. Nasty right hand from Sandhagen. Sandhagen working his way around Font on the ground and settles into half guard. Elbow from Sandhagen and Font gets things back to full guard. Nice short shots landing here for Sandhagen.

90 seconds left in the round and Font gets back to his feet. Font tries to move forward behind the jab and he lands a low kick. Right hand lands for Font. Sandhagen lands a kick and then throws another one. However, Font catches it and throws Sandhagen to the ground. Font gets his back as the round ends. Close round but 1-0 Sandhagen at UFC Nashville.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC Nashville and this one is a high level chess match after one. Double lefts for Font to start the striking in the second. Low kick from Sandhagen and then he shoots for a takedown and gets Font down. Font looks to scramble but Sandhagen holds a dominant position here.

Sandhagen in half guard now and lands a nice right hand. Short elbows now from The Sandman. Font looking for separation to potentially scramble but he eats another shot. Font continues looking for ways out but Sandhagen is just holding top position here.

Sweep attempt from Font but no dice and Sandhagen stays on top. Another sweep attempt and Font nearly gets up. However, Sandhagen gets him right back down and lands a nice sharp elbow. 90 seconds left in the round and this round has been all Cory Sandhagen.

Just a grueling round where Sandhagen has had complete control. One minute left and Sandhagen lands another really nice short shot. Elbow now from Sandhagen. The round comes to a close and Sandhagen holds a 2-0 advantage here at UFC Nashville.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC Nashville and Font needs to try and keep this fight standing at all cost. Font takes the center once again to start the third. Right hand for Font lands. Check left hook now from Sandhagen. Sharp jab now from Font. Lead uppercut from Sandhagen and a right from Font. Flying knee from Sandhagen and then he goes right into a takedown.

Sandhagen gets the takedown and the crowd erupts in boos. Short elbow strikes now from Sandhagen who is in complete control here. Another short elbow from Sandhagen. Font doesn’t appear to have the scrambling energy that he had in the first round. He’s not even trying to escape the position.

More elbows now from Sandhagen. Halfway through the third round and it’s hard to see a path for Font to get back up. More elbows from Sandhagen. None of these are doing a ton of damage, but they are landing. Sweep attempt from Font and he nearly gets up. However, Sandhagen gets him right back down and Font eats an elbow.

90 seconds left in the round and Sandhagen lands a slashing elbow. Boos from the Nashville crowd who are becoming very restless with this strategy from Sandhagen but the strategy is working flawlessly. Font gets back to his feet with 30 seconds left and the crowd cheers. However, he’s not able to land anything and it’s 3-0 Sandhagen at UFC Nashville.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC Nashville and Font needs to get desperate in my opinion as he’s down big. Font pushes forward trying to put pressure on Sandhagen. Combinations from Font but nothing lands. Takedown from Sandhagen and the crowd once again erupts in boos.

Sandhagen settles into the half guard and the crowd is now waving their lights at the lack of action. Short elbows from Sandhagen are landing. Font is trying to work his way back to the fence to try and leverage it to get up. However, Sandhagen is so dominant from the top position here.

Font has his back to the fence with two minutes left in the round. Font briefly gets up but immediately is taken right back down and the crowd boos. Font starts getting back to his feet as chants of ‘Stand them up’ start ringing out from the Nashville crowd. 60 seconds left and Sandhagen is just holding Font here.

Font gets to his feet but is just dragged right back down once again the crowd boos. The round ends and it’s all Cory Sandhagen at UFC Nashville.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Nashville and Font needs a miracle. Font pushes forward to start the final round and he throws a couple of shots. He lands and now Font goes for a takedown. The crowd isn’t thrilled and Font is just holding Sandhagen against the fence here. One minute into the round and Sandhagen reverses the position.

Sandhagen gets a takedown with ease and this might be the end of the fight. Font trying to use the fence here to get back up, but Sandhagen is just holding him down here. A warning from the referee. Sandhagen locks in a d’arce choke and Font is doing everything he can to defend.

Font breaks free and Sandhagen settles into the guard. 90 seconds left in the fight and I don’t think there’s a miracle in there for Font. Font tries to throw up a triangle but nothing is there. The fight ends and the crowd erupts in more boos. Sandhagen should win a lopsided decision at UFC Nashville.

Cory Sandhagen def. Rob Font by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)