Cory Sandhagen put on a critical performance against number three ranked bantamweight contender Chito Vera this Saturday at UFC Fight Night which took place in San Antonio, Texas. Sandhagen dominated the fight for most of the five rounds and was expected to win 50-45 or at least 49-46 on all three cards but to everyone’s surprise, one judge scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Vera.
Sandhagen got his takedowns early in the fight and dominated the first two rounds. The ‘Sandman’ had Vera in all sorts of trouble on the ground, had him in a crucifix while also having him in full mount landing huge, fight-ending potential shots. Rounds 3, 4, and 5 were certainly a little more competitive, as Vera did land some good combinations but no way he won all those three.
Even though there was a judging blunder on one side, Sandhagen still controlled the majority of the fight and got the all-important W. After the fight when asked about who will he want to face next, Sandhagen said “I would feel so slimy if I asked for a title shot before Merab[Dvalishvili]. Merab is an absolute animal. I respect him a ton. I want[that] number-one spot”
Can Cory Sandhagen claim Bantamweight gold?
Sandhagen is 2-2 in his last four UFC appearances, but after losing the chance to capture the interim bantamweight gold against Petr Yan back in October 2021, the 30-year-old has made a solid comeback. After losing to Yan, Sandhagen took a step down in competition and fought a young and rising contender in Song Yadong whom he finished in round number four. After securing a solid victory against number three ranked Chito Vera, Cory Sandhagen is right back in title contention.
As he demanded, fighting the current number one contender Merab Dvalishvili certainly makes sense. The current bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling is scheduled to defend his title against the former and retired two-division champ Henry Cejudo. That fight will take place on May 6th at UFC 288. So if Merab and Sandhagen can have a quick turnaround, a number one contender fight between them is certainly on the cards.