Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 18, we will see a massive fight for the bantamweight division. Former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1), will be taking on top contender, Cory Sandhagen (13-2).
The former UFC champion made his bantamweight debut back in August. Despite being a champion at 155 pounds and a top contender at 145 pounds, Edgar appears to be right at home at 135 pounds.
Edgar took on Pedro Munhoz back in August and the fight was fantastic. It was razor close, but ultimately the former UFC champion got his hand raised that night. That win has led him to this spot against Cory Sandhagen.
Sandhagen found himself in a title eliminator back at UFC 250. That night he took on Aljamain Sterling and the winner was going to get a title shot. Sandhagen was the favorite in many eyes but was destroyed by Sterling.
The Sandman bounced back and knocked out Marlon Moraes on Fight Island to get back on track. Now, at UFC Vegas 18, Sandhagen is looking to reestablish himself as the top contender at 135 pounds.
UFC Vegas 18 Prediction
Over the past few weeks, I’ve gone back and forth on this UFC Vegas 18 prediction. When you look at the two men on paper, you’d have to favor Sandhagen. He’s got great striking, he’s got great jiu jitsu, he’s lengthier, and he’s younger.
However, Frankie Edgar always has this unseen advantage. The toughness and never say die attitude of the former UFC champion cannot be measured by typical tale of the tape stats. He’s just got a bit of an it factor about him.
For Sandhagen to get it done tomorrow, I believe he needs to keep this fight at range. Yes, he’s very good on the ground, however, his key to this fight is going to be using his striking from range. Sandhagen needs to have a kick heavy attack tomorrow night.
Edgar on the other hand needs to get this fight close. The former UFC champion needs this fight to stay within his range and look for him to utilize the clinch and some of his wrestling tomorrow. I would also expect a very high output from the former champion which will be key.
I love both of these contenders and I think either would make for a great challenger. While I would lean towards Sandhagen for all the things you see on paper, I just have this weird feeling Edgar gets it done. I think the fight will be at his pace and his activity will be enough to squeak out a decision. Call me crazy.
Prediction: Frankie Edgar by Split Decision