Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong represent the two brightest up-and-comers in the UFC’s bantamweight division. The former has stumbled repeatedly against the champions and the latter is only 24 with a loss, but the pair are still growing at a rapid rate. We could be looking at two future champions. But to get there, one will have to beat the other as the Sandhagen vs. Song fight odds favor the American.
Sandhagen vs Song Fight Info
- Fighters: Cory Sandhagen (14-4-0) vs Song Yadong (19-6-1)
- Location: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
- Day/Time: Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET
- Broadcast: ESPN+
Sandhagen’s Best is Yet to Come
It’s not often you can consider a fighter still trending when they’ve lost three of their last five fights. But that’s Sandhagen. The 30-year-old lost hard-fought decisions against Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw, the latter of which many scored in his favor. In fact, all three of Sandhagen’s losses in the UFC have come against champions.
But before fans dismiss Sandhagen as just another “gatekeeper”, he and his team have plans to get back on top. The most important thing is knowing that Sandhagen has been through the fire – one of the toughest UFC schedule for any prospect – and has only come out better because of it.
In his fight against Yan, Sandhagen’s coach, Carrington Banks noted a moment where Yan’s corner said Sandhagen was “breaking.”
“I realized he was talking to Yan, and I’m like, ‘That’s exactly what we need,’” Banks said. “I just let him go. Cory is the type of guy that ain’t going to let anybody see him down or son him or let them get the best of him, especially if they’re being vocal and verbal about it in front of him.”
It behooves folks, even oddsmakers, to believe that Sandhagen’s duel with the best has only made him sharper. “Steel sharpens steel” as the saying goes and the UFC Fight Night odds estimate Sandhagen to beat other contenders like Song without too many issues.
“I think he’s super athletic, and I think that he’s a very dangerous guy,” Sandhagen said about his opponent. “I think that that experience is good for him, but I don’t think that he’s ever faced anyone in the top five, so I could say that definitively.”
Song has also not fought anyone quite like Sandhagen and not in a five-round UFC main event. Sandhagen will assault Song from angles he hasn’t seen and he’ll be in and out like it’s guerilla warfare. With a dominant victory over Song, as the Sandhagen vs. Song fight odds allude, consider Sandhagen a favorite to get the next crack at gold.
A Chinese Star Waiting to Burst
Ever since the UFC was created, the world has waited for a Chinese fighter to become a real star in the promotion. Zhang Weili burst into the scene on the women’s side but let’s be honest: a male fighter winning UFC gold would be on another level given the patriarchal roots of the country and of Asia. That’s a lot of pressure on a 24-year-old like Song.
Others like Li Jingliang and Su Mudaerji are competent and exciting fighters but nowhere near the title picture. Song just retired Marlon Moraes, a former title challenger, and top-three fighter. He also owns a win over Marlon Vera, currently the fifth-ranked fighter at 135 pounds, albeit a controversial one.
Maybe Sandhagen is too big of a step up for Song. But he needs this fight even if it is one he won’t win. Song improves his stock by going five rounds with a fighter that’s fought champions and future Hall of Famers. He’s one of the youngest contenders in the UFC.
Alternatively, should Song find a way to upset the Sandhagen vs. Song fight odds, he will get a chance to become the first male Chinese fighter to become a UFC champion. Now that will be groundbreaking.Follow us on Twitter