The UFC is back at the APEX on Saturday night for a thrilling lineup of fights at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw. The No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender, Cory Sandhagen takes on TJ Dillashaw in the main event with 11 other bouts on the UFC betting ticket. You have to give Dillashaw credit for not easing his way back. The former bantamweight belt holder was slapped with a two-year suspension back in 2019 and makes his first venture to the octagon since losing to Henry Cejudo in a flyweight title fight that same year.
Following spectacular knockouts in his last two fights, Sandhagen (14-2) can move a step closer to a shot at the bantamweight belt. In a roundabout way this is a title fight since Dillashaw (17-4) never relinquished the strap in the octagon. He was stripped of the title and suspended after testing positive for an illegal substance following the Cejudo fight. The two were slated to fight two months ago however Dillashaw had to back out due to an injury sustained while training. Given recent results and the fact that Dillashaw hasn’t fought in two years it isn’t a surprise to see Sandhagen positioned as a -200 favorite.
The biggest question facing Dillashaw is how he responds after not fighting in two and a half years. And his last bout was one to forget, so the suspension came at a bad time. Dillashaw was stopped 32 seconds into his flyweight title fight with Cejudo. We could expect some rust on the 35-year-old, but he’s also fresh and ready to regain his rightful spot in the pecking order.
The octagon will welcome back another fighter for the first time in a while in the night’s co-main event. Returning for the first time since a serious knee injury derailed her career, Aspen Ladd (9-1) looks to pick up where she left off against Macy Chiasson (8-1) in a battle of one-loss bantamweights. Despite the layoff Ladd did enough before her injury to be pegged as a rising star. She’ll have to work her way back up the ranks and is positioned as a -215 favorite.
Darren Elkins (26-9) earned his nickname “The Damage” with his relentless style, which was on display last time out in a submission finish of Eduardo Garagorri stopping a four-fight losing streak. He’s likely to see a version of himself in the ring in a featherweight tussle with Darrick Minner (26-11). Neither fighter has title hopes, but that won’t lessen the excitement value.
There is sure to be plenty of action inside the octagon and even more at the betting window with 12 bouts making up the Fight Night card. All fights can be seen on ESPN and ESPN+ with the prelims starting at 4 p.m. ET and the main card at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 24. Betting options for every fight on the ticket are available at BookMaker.eu when you’re ready to make a wager.
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Odds
TJ Dillashaw +158 vs. Cory Sandhagen -200
Macy Chiasson +168 vs. Aspen Ladd -215
Raulian Paiva +217 vs. Kyler Phillips -285
Darrick Minner -160 vs. Darren Elkins +127
Maycee Barber +124 vs. Miranda Maverick -155
Randy Costa +179 vs. Adrian Yanez-230
Brendan Allen -115 vs. Punahele Soriano -115
Nassourdine Imavov +131 vs. Ian Heinisch -165
Jordan Williams -170 vs. Mickey Gall +135
Julio Arce -200 vs. Andre Ewell +158
Elise Reed +273 vs. Sijara Eubanks -370
Diana Belbita -115 vs. Hannah Goldy -115
(Odds provided by BookMaker.eu as of 7/23/2021)
TJ Dillashaw +158 vs. Cory Sandhagen -200
Dillashaw left as the bantamweight champion and he’s hungry to get back in contention after serving his time. He’s become a forgotten man in the division with guys like Sandhagen surpassing him. But Dillashaw is poised to make a triumphant return against one of the top fighters in the class and he says he’s more driven than ever. Dillashaw has plenty to prove after his 30-month absence, but talking a big game and getting the desired results are two different things.
You can train all you want, but 30 months out of the octagon is a long time. And Sandhagen has risen to top contender in the division by going 7-1 in the promotion with his only loss to current champ Aljamain Sterling last year. The Sandman responded by putting his last two opponents to sleep with KOs of Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar. With a title fight waiting I don’t think Sandhagen will let it get away.
UFC Prediction: Cory Sandhagen / TKO
Aspen Ladd -215 vs Macy Chiasson +168
Ladd’s sudden rise was suspended just as quickly, now she’s trying to regain the form that had her win her first eight bouts to become one of the most watched female fighters. Ladd suffered her first professional loss two years ago lasting only 16 seconds against Germaine de Randamie. She bounced back to finish Yana Kunitskaya three months later and had a few high-profile fights lined up.
Unfortunately a serious knee injury shelved her until now. Ladd has gone the distance just once in her five UFC fights and stamina could be an issue of Chiasson extends the bout. While not having as many high-profile fights on her resume, Chiasson is a worthy opponent posting a 5-1 record inside the octagon.
UFC Prediction: Aspen Ladd / Submission
Check out the latest UFC Fight Night odds.