Cory Sandhagen KOs Frankie Edgar with a flying knee at UFC Vegas 18

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 18, we had a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division. Former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1) took on Cory Sandhagen (13-2). The winner could be next in line for a bantamweight title shot.

The former UFC lightweight champion was making his second appearance at bantamweight. Edgar made his debut in the division back in August when he defeated Pedro Munhoz by decision in a very close fight.

After being the smaller guy for his entire career, Edgar finally appears at home in the UFC‘s bantamweight division. Standing across from him this evening was one of the top contenders in the division, Cory Sandhagen.

Sandhagen had a title eliminator back at UFC 250 against Aljamain Sterling. Unfortunately for him, he was submitted in the first round. However, he bounced back beautifully with a knockout of Marlon Moraes. A win over Edgar should put him next in line for a title shot.

UFC Vegas 18 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 18 co-main event opened with no touch of the gloves. Sandhagen was circling around the outside and Edgar was looking to pressure. A couple of nice calf kicks land for Cory Sandhagen.

Frankie Edgar moves forward and Sandhagen explodes with a massive flying knee that knocks Frankie Edgar out cold. Edgar falls forward lifeless and it’s a massive victory for Cory Sandhagen. He’s clearly the number one contender in the UFC’s bantamweight division.

Cory Sandhagen def. Frankie Edgar by KO (Flying Knee) – Round 1

UFC Vegas 18 Preview: Frankie Edgar – Cory Sandhagen

Frankie Edgar

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

Cory Sandhagen says TJ Dillashaw needs a win before getting UFC title shot

One of the more exciting divisions in the UFC is the bantamweight division. Just last week, we saw it get announced that Petr Yan (15-1) and Aljamain Sterling (19-3) are finally going to fight for the title in March at UFC 259. 

Next month, there is also a big time bantamweight matchup scheduled for February 6th. Cory Sandhagen (13-2) will be taking on Frankie Edgar (24-8-1) in the co-main event of that UFC Fight Night.

Both Sandhagen and Edgar are currently ranked inside the top four of the bantamweight division. Considering that Cody Garbrandt (12-3) is ranked third despite moving down to flyweight, both men are actually ranked in the top three.

However, it’s not a guarantee that the winner of their matchup will get a UFC title shot. While it makes all the sense in the world and whoever wins would definitely be deserving, there’s one fighter that could throw a wrench into things.

That fighter is the former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw is getting ready to return after serving a two-year suspension following a positive drug test for EPO.

Dillashaw’s suspension forced him to relinquish the UFC bantamweight championship. He never lost the title inside the octagon, but his actions outside the cage gave the belt away. Dillashaw has been vocal about his desire to fight for the title.

UFC shot right away? Sandhagen says no way

TJ Dillashaw told ESPN in early December that he believes he should get a title shot immediately. His logic is that he never lost the title inside the cage and Yan really didn’t earn the title. For that reason, the championship is up for grabs.

Jose Aldo (29-7) recently called out Dillashaw for a fight after his last win. Honestly that matchup would make a ton of sense for both men. However, reports are that there is no traction at the moment to get that fight done.

Sandhagen has been hearing whispers about Dillashaw’s desire for a UFC title shot. He made it clear that he’s not in favor saying, “I heard him say he’s playing the ‘financially secure’ card. We’ve been putting in work while you’ve been gone. So that would kind of be a bummer if they just gave it to him.”

At this point, it doesn’t appear that the UFC is going to give Dillashaw his desired title shot. Yes, Dillashaw never lost the title inside the cage, however, he hasn’t fought in two years due to a suspension for taking a banned substance.

Dominick Cruz (22-3) never lost his title either but was forced to face Takeya Mizugaki instead of getting a title shot after his first layoff. And that was due to injury. Sandhagen is right in that the winner of him and Frankie Edgar should get the next shot at the title.

The UFC should really try to book Dillashaw against a guy like Aldo. Let him reestablish himself in the division and try to repair his name. Do not give him a title shot just because he held the belt when he was suspended. It’s not fair to the guys who have been competing.

State of the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021

One of the divisions that has really flipped in 2020 is the UFC‘s bantamweight division. I’m not sure anyone saw the division going the way that it did when the year started. Granted, I don’t think anything about 2020 went as planned.

When the year started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) was the reigning UFC bantamweight king. He was angling for a fight with former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7), after Aldo lost by split decision to Marlon Moraes.

Cejudo and the UFC brass felt that Aldo won the fight. The two men were scheduled to fight in May. However, after the pandemic hit, Aldo was not able to travel for UFC 249 to take on Cejudo.

That’s when former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3), stepped to the plate. Cruz had been out since 2016, but in that fight he lost his world title. The two men met at UFC 249.

That night, Cejudo finished Cruz in the second round then retired after the fight. The promotion decided to give Aldo a title shot after he was promised one and paired him against top contender, Petr Yan (16-1) for the vacant title.

At UFC 251 on Fight Island, Yan and Aldo met for the bantamweight championship. Aldo had some good moments early, however, Yan took over late. Ultimately, Yan finished Aldo in the fifth round to become bantamweight champion.

UFC’s Bantamweight Division in 2021

We already know the first title fight, we just don’t know when. Yan was supposed to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) at UFC 256. However, Yan had to pull out for undisclosed reasons. That fight is supposed to be setup early in 2021.

An interesting wrinkle in the division is the return of former champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw never lost his UFC title in the ring, but his suspension forced him to be stripped of the 135 pound title.

Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he’s looking to get right back in the mix. Jose Aldo is one of the men that wants a shot at Dillashaw. Aldo is coming off of a big win against Chito Vera at UFC Vegas 17. 

The two former UFC champions could make for a very compelling matchup. Another key matchup early in the year is the matchup between Cory Sandhagen (13-2) and former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1).

That matchup on February 6th might be a title eliminator. Rob Font (18-4) might be the one contender to watch in 2021. Font just knocked out Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17. His hands looked incredibly crisp and he’s busted into the top five at bantamweight.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division is absolutely stacked. I didn’t even mention the matchup between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera that’s booked on January 20th. So many incredible matchups in that division.

Petr Yan looks like a world-beater. However, his division is full of guys who are waiting to take away that crown. So many interesting storylines and potential matchups surround the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021.

UFC books Frankie Edgar – Cory Sandhagen

Frankie Edgar

The UFC is currently finalizing a big-time fight at bantamweight that could be a title eliminator. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was first to report that the promotion is finalizing a bout between Frankie Edgar (24-8-1) and Cory Sandhagen (13-2).

The fight is going to take place on February 6th. Frankie Edgar is competing in his third weight class inside the UFC. The former lightweight champion of the world made his bantamweight debut back in August when he took on Pedro Munhoz.

The fight was razor close, but Edgar was able to pickup the split decision victory. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for the former UFC lightweight champion. In all honesty, Edgar finally appears to be competing in his natural weight class.

Cory Sandhagen bounced back in a major way when he fought in October on Fight Island. Over the summer at UFC 250, Sandhagen was dominated and finished in the first 90 seconds by Aljamain Sterling.

It was a very poor performance, but Sandhagen got his shot at redemption in October when he took on Marlon Moraes. That night, Sandhagen looked rejuvenated and he was able to finish Moraes in the second round of their fight.

Sandhagen has always been looked at as a future UFC champion. He’s great on the ground and his striking has really evolved. He will be getting the biggest fight in terms of name recognition on February 6th.

State of the UFC’s Bantamweight Division

Currently the UFC is looking to book the title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling for the first quarter of 2021. Originally, they were supposed to fight at UFC 256, however, Yan had to pull out of the fight.

Given the new timeframe, it lines up perfectly with the Edgar – Sandhagen fight. The UFC‘s plan could be to have the winners of these two fights face off in the summer. While not confirmed, the Edgar – Sandhagen fight is likely going to be a title eliminator.

Another interesting wrinkle in the division is the return of TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw says he wants to return in March which could line him up for a title shot as well. My guess is whoever looks the best between the winner of this fight and Dillashaw will get the next UFC title shot.

TJ Dillashaw wants a title shot in his UFC return

On January 18th, the suspension of former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4), will officially be lifted. The MMA world has not seen Dillashaw inside a cage since January 19th of 2019.

That night, Dillashaw took on Henry Cejudo for the UFC‘s flyweight championship. Dillashaw was attempting to become a two-division world champion, however, he was caught and finished in the first 32 seconds of the fight.

The stoppage was controversial and the UFC was looking to book a rematch between the two. However, Dillashaw then announced that he was vacating his UFC bantamweight title due to a result in his pre-fight drug test.

We later found out that Dillashaw had tested positive for the performance enhancing drug, EPO. Dillashaw was suspended for two years for the positive drug test. In the span of just a couple of weeks Dillashaw went from superstardom to being shunned by the MMA community.

Now, the suspension is almost up and the former champ is anxious to get back into the cage. Dillashaw was interviewed yesterday by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and talked about his return. Dillashaw made it clear that he’s wanting to go right to the top.

UFC title shot right away?

“They (the UFC) know I want the title fight. I want that title. I want it right away because you got a guy, Petr Yan, that beat someone for the belt who was 0-2 (Jose Aldo) in the weight division. You know, how are you calling yourself a champion,” Dillashaw told Okamoto.

The current UFC bantamweight champion, Yan, is scheduled to take on Aljamain Sterling at some point early next year. The fight was originally supposed to take place next week, but Yan had to postpone the fight.

Dillashaw also said in the interview that he’s looking to fight around March. In all honesty, I don’t see Dillashaw getting a title shot right away. There would have been a chance if Yan and Sterling had fought next week, but now, I don’t think so.

With that in mind, Dillashaw will need to fight someone in the UFC‘s top ten. A couple of names stick out including Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar. A fight with either of those two makes a lot of sense for Dillashaw.

Dillashaw made it clear that he wants a UFC title shot right away. However, if he is forced to fight someone else, he wants it to be a title eliminator. One thing is for sure, and that is with the return of Dillashaw, bantamweight just got even better.

Will the UFC book Frankie Edgar – Cory Sandhagen?

Frankie Edgar

One of the more exciting divisions in the UFC right now is the bantamweight division. Just in the past few months, there has been a slew of incredible fights and a new champion was crowned. The division is stacked and loaded with talent.

One of those guys is the former UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1). The Answer made his bantamweight debut back in August when he defeated Pedro Munhoz in an excellent fight. This is the third UFC weight class for Edgar.

With the win and his name recognition, Edgar established himself near the top of the division. Edgar is also teammates with Marlon Moraes. Moraes is another top ten bantamweight who fought for the UFC title just last year.

Moraes is coming off of a loss a few weeks ago at the hands of Cory Sandhagen (13-2). Sandhagen bounced back from his first loss in the UFC to destroy Marlon Moraes. It was the best performance of Sandhagen’s career.

After the fight was over, Sandhagen had a couple of names on his wish list. One of the names being former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. While the other was Frankie Edgar. This got Edgar’s attention, and he wants the fight.

Will the UFC make it happen?

Either one of the options that Sandhagen mentioned would be good options for the UFC. Dillashaw was the champion before he was suspended by USADA. You can expect him to be right back in the mix upon his return.

However, two years off is a long time off. We don’t know what kind of TJ Dillashaw we are going to see when he comes back. We know exactly what we are going to get from Frankie Edgar. Edgar looked rejuvenated in his last UFC victory at bantamweight.

If the UFC books Sandhagen – Edgar, the winner would be first in line to fight for the title. At UFC 256, Petr Yan is defending his title against Aljamain Sterling. It makes sense that their be a title eliminator around the same time. I think Edgar – Sandhagen is going to be the UFC‘s first option.

UFC Match Maker: Frankie Edgar – Dominick Cruz

Frankie Edgar

This past weekend at UFC Fight Island 5, Cory Sandhagen (13-2) had a huge victory over Marlon Moraes (23-7-1). After the fight was over, one of the names that Sandhagen mentioned he’d be interested in fighting was Frankie Edgar (24-8-1).

Edgar is currently ranked fifth in the UFC‘s bantamweight division after successfully making his debut against Pedro Munhoz earlier this year. Edgar is trying to work his way up another division for another UFC title opportunity.

While Sandhagen mentioned his name, it doesn’t seem like a matchup the UFC will move to book. Instead, there was another potential matchup that pundits were mentioning that is extremely intriguing for Frankie Edgar. That’s a matchup with former UFC champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3).

While Cruz has been very inactive over the last few years due to injuries, he’s healthy now. He just fought back in May where he lost his title match to Henry Cejudo back at UFC 249. A matchup between the two could serve as a legend vs legend scenario.

Would the UFC make the fight?

It would be very interesting to see if the UFC would make this fight. On one hand, the fight makes a lot of sense for both fighters. Cruz is a former champion coming off a title loss while Edgar is a former champion trying to get a bantamweight title shot.

A win for either man would put them squarely in the mix for another title shot. However, I’m not sure it would be a fight that Frankie Edgar would be interested in right now. Cruz has been so inactive, that Edgar might be looking for more of a stable opponent in the division.

That being said, it is the fight that I would move to make. I think the UFC would be better off giving Cory Sandhagen the returning TJ Dillashaw. I think the fans would love to see the potential matchup between former UFC champions Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar.

What’s next for Cory Sandhagen after UFC Fight Island 5?

This past Saturday night, the UFC hosted their fifth fight night from Fight Island. In the main event of the evening, there was a bantamweight contest between former title challenger Marlon Moraes (23-7-1) and Cory Sandhagen (13-2).

It was a very big fight for the UFC‘s bantamweight division. Moraes was the top ranked contender while Sandhagen came in fourth. Despite being fourth, Sandhagen was actually the betting favorite heading into UFC Fight Island 5.

In the fight, Sandhagen made it apparent why he was the betting favorite. Sandhagen did a fantastic job of striking from the outside and flustering Moraes with his movement. Moraes really just looked like he could never get going on Saturday.

Finally, in the second round, Sandhagen handed a spinning kicked that floored the former UFC title challenger. A few follow up shots after that caused the referee to step in and call a stop to the action. The biggest UFC win so far for Sandhagen.

Who should the UFC pair him with next?

In his post fight interview, Sandhagen had a couple of names that he was interested. TJ Dillashaw and Frankie Edgar were the two names that Sandhagen had in mind when envisioning his next UFC fight. He figured those were the only two ahead of him in the title picture.

Edgar recently made his successful UFC bantamweight debut by defeating Pedro Munhoz. The fight was razor close, but a win put Edgar near the top of the division. Edgar is looking to challenge for a UFC title in the third weight class that he’s competed in.

TJ Dillashaw is able to come back in January after being suspended for two years. The former UFC bantamweight king was known as one of the best fighters in the world a couple of years ago. Dillashaw dropped down to flyweight in his last UFC contest to challenge Henry Cejudo.

Dillashaw lost to Cejudo, but that wasn’t the main story however. He tested positive for EPO and was suspended for two years. He had to relinquish his UFC bantamweight title, but he’s itching to get back into the cage.

Personally, I like either fight for Sandhagen. A win over one of those high profile guys would surely put him in the title picture. Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan are expecting to fight early next year, but Sandhagen could get a UFC title shot at some point in 2021.

After UFC Vegas 7, what’s next for Frankie Edgar?

Frankie Edgar

Last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 7, former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1), made a successful bantamweight debut. Edgar edged out the fifth ranked bantamweight in the UFC, Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC).

This was the third weight class that Edgar has competed in during his hall of fame career. Given Edgar’s size, he looked like he was finally in his natural weight class after always being the smallest guy at lightweight and featherweight.

Edgar is expected to debut this week in the top five of the bantamweight rankings after his victory over Munhoz. With Aljamain Sterling getting the next shot at the champion Petr Yan, what should the UFC do with Edgar’s next fight?

UFC and Edgar’s next steps

Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that Edgar needed to win one or two more times before he could get a shot at the UFC bantamweight title. Realistically, I would say he just needs one more win to earn that shot.

The UFC loves Edgar, and if he comes out and looks impressive in another win, I could see them giving him a title shot. However, booking Edgar against another contender might not be easy.

If you examine the rankings, all of the guys who will be in front of Edgar are already booked. The UFC champ, Yan, is likely fighting Sterling. Marlon Moraes is booked to fight Corey Sandhagen in October. Cody Garbrandt is moving down to flyweight so he’s not in the picture.

That leaves Edgar with no one in front of him in the rankings at the moment. He just defeated Munhoz, and I can’t see the UFC booking him against Jose Aldo, who is ranked sixth, for the third time. So who should he fight?

Two Options

To me, there are two options that the UFC could go with right now. If the promotion wants to give him someone that makes sense with rankings, I’d go with Jimmie Rivera (23-4). Rivera is ranked seventh and is coming off of a win against Cody Stamann at UFC Fight Island 1.

Rivera tried to step in to fight Edgar on short notice after Munhoz originally tested positive for COVID-19, but Edgar decided to wait on Munhoz. El Terror felt that Edgar was dodging the fight. A matchup between the two could bring a little heat.

The other option would be the biggest one the UFC could make on name recognition. How about a fight with former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3)? Cruz is coming off of a title fight loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249.

The two men are legends of the sport, and it would make for an extremely interesting matchup. The winner could likely jump right back to a UFC title shot. If I’m Dana White, I would start with this one, but if I’m a fight fan, I’d be happy to see Edgar fight either one of Rivera or Cruz next.