UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Sandhagen Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

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Marlon Vera celebrates a win against Brian Kelleher after their mixed martial arts bout at UFC on Fox 25, Saturday, July 22, 2017.
(AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Mar 21, 2023, 6:28 PM
  • Marlon Vera is the underdog at +140.
  • Cory Sandhagen is the favorite at -170.
  • The winner of the match inches closer to a title shot.

An all-important bantamweight clash goes down this weekend inside AT&T Center in San Antonio as No. 3-ranked contender Marlon Vera (20-7-1) faces No. 5-ranked challenger Cory Sandhagen (15-4) to improve their MMA odds and become a frontrunner in the race for a title shot. Both Vera and Sandhagen are coming off victories in their previous fights.

Despite having the longer winning streak of four, Vera is being labeled by oddsmakers as the underdog in UFC odds at +140, against Sandhagen, who lost two of his last three matches and is fresh from a bounce-back win, is the favorite at -170. Sandhagen’s better record on paper may be the reason why he’s a favorite over Vera.

Marlon Vera Recent Fight Results

Marlon Vera is riding a four-fight winning streak after beating Dominick Cruz, Rob Font, Frankie Edgar and Davey Grant (in their rematch). His last taste of defeat came at the hands of Jose Aldo in December 2020. Before the loss to Aldo, which was his seventh MMA setback, “Chito” won six of his seven fights, including a massive win over rising star Sean O’Malley.

Apart from O’Malley, the Ecuadorian also beat Andre Ewell, Nohelin Hernandez, Frankie Saenz, Guido Cannetti and Wuliji Buren. The only loss he sustained during this stretch was a unanimous decision from Song Yadong. Vera suffered his first back-to-back defeats from Douglas Silva de Andrade in February 2018 and John Lineker in October 2017.

Before that successive losses from Andrade and Lineker, the RVCA representative submitted Brian Kelleher in July 2017, TKO’ed Brad Pickett in March 2017, and outpointed Guangyou Ning en route to a unanimous decision win in November 2016.

In his first three UFC fights, Vera could only win one by submitting Roman Salazar and yielded decision losses from Marco Beltran (in his debut) and Davey Grant (in their first meeting). The 30-year-old was a standout in various MMA promotions prior to his stint with the Las Vegas-based promotion.

Cory Sandhagen Recent Fight Results

Cory Sandhagen is coming off a rebound victory against Song Yadong in their September 2022 showdown via fourth-round TKO (doctor’s stoppage) to retain his status as a top contender in the 135-pound division. Before that win over Yadong, Sandhagen suffered back-to-back losses from Petr Yan in their interim bantamweight title fight in October 2021 and T.J. Dillashaw in July 2021.

Outside of those consecutive defeats, Sandhagen sustained only one loss in his first eight bouts under the UFC since signing in January 2018. Aljamain Sterling submitted the “Sandman” in the opening round of their June 2020 match, but elsewhere, the Elevation Fight Team member recorded seven wins to his tally.

Sandhagen trounced Austin Arnett (second-round TKO), Iuri Alcantara (second-round TKO), Mario Bautista (first-round submission), John Lineker (split decision), Raphael Assuncao (unanimous decision), Marlon Moraes (second-round TKO) and Frankie Edgar (first-round KO) to solidify his place at the upper echelon of contenders in the stacked bantamweight division.

Before fighting under the UFC, Sandhagen amassed an impressive record of seven wins, including four stoppages, and only one loss in multiple MMA promotions. Another win for Sandhagen this weekend over Vera will almost guarantee him a title shot in his next fight.

Vera vs. Sandhagen: Tale of the Tape

Marlon VeraCory Sandhagen
Age30 30
Reach70.5 inches70 inches
Leg Reach40.5 inches40 inches
Fighting StyleBrazilian Jiu-JitsuStriker
Finishing Rate80%66%

Vera vs. Sandhagen: Fight Analysis

The tale of the tape between Vera and Sandhagen is split among them, with Vera having a half-inch advantage in reach and leg reach over Sandhagen, but the “Sandman” is taller than “Chito.” Record-wise, Sandhagen has the better tally with 15 wins and only four losses, while Vera has 20 wins, seven losses, and one draw.

Both are only 30 years old, but Vera already has a ton of experience fighting in the UFC, with 20 fights on his resume and only 11 fights for Sandhagen. Despite the discrepancy in the number of UFC bouts, the pair have fought and featured in high-level matchups as they faced the top names in the 135-pound division.

This matchup is a battle of styles, with the Ecuadorian having a Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a fighting base. On the other hand, Sandhagen comes in as the more natural striker among the two. However, evident in his recent form, Vera is fearless in exchanging strikes on the feet and even scores victories due to his improvement in that area.

These two top-class challengers are hungry to earn their shot for the title, but Vera has the key to beat Sandhagen, particularly his jiu-jitsu background, to set up submission maneuvers. He may not be able to submit Sandhagen, but these submission attempts can push him ahead of the judges’ scorecards. Not to mention his wealth of experience that could come in handy in this all-important bantamweight clash.

Official Prediction: Unanimous decision for Marlon Vera.

See the entire Vera vs. Sandhagen odds and wagers here.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.