UFC 250 Betting Pick: Aljamain Sterling vs Cory Sandhagen

This fight could have been the main event!

Since Henry Cejudo retired only weeks ago after defeating Dominick Cruz, the UFC Bantamweight division has been without a titleholder.

I thought this fight could very well be for the interim belt but I understand that Petr Yan has won 10 in a row and deservedly awaits the winner in what will be a 5-round fight for the 135-pound strap.

Aljamain Sterling has a wrestling base but lately, he has enjoyed using his unusually long limbs to out-strike his opponents.

In his previous bout with Pedro Munhoz, the Funkmaster went 0-7 on his takedown attempts but still threw and landed a career-high amount of significant strikes.

350 and he landed 175 which is exactly 50%. That is tremendous, especially for a 3-round fight. That’s almost a dozen strikes landed per MINUTE! If you subtract the time he spent going for those 7 takedowns, my gosh. He put a lickin’ on Pedro.

Going back one more fight when he went with Jimmie Rivera, Aljo landed 129/206 significant strikes. He isn’t the only guy who throws and lands with volume.

Cory Sandhagen is averaging more than 8 strikes landed per minute in his 5-fight UFC career. This is an excellent matchup!

BetOnline.AG has some really tasty odds for this fight and many others. You can also do live UFC betting which is a completely different game but, in my opinion, an even more profitable one.

Let’s get to our UFC betting predictions for the bantamweight #1 contender match between Cory Sandhagen and Aljamain Sterling.

Aljamain Sterling (-110) vs Cory Sandhagen (-110)

Round Total

OVER 2.5

Whew, this is a tough one to call.

I have actually trained with Aljamain a few times when he came out to Las Vegas. This was about 3 years ago but his striking was ridiculously good then.

We didn’t grapple as I’m not good enough to give him any solid work. I enjoyed sparring with him, though. He was very respectful and controlled but wasn’t giving me anything for free either.

I have always pulled for him in his fights and minus the knockout loss to Marlon Moraes, he hasn’t let me down yet.

  • He has some of the best defense I have ever seen. I think I said in a recent article that Raphael Assuncao was one of the best defensive fighters the bantamweight division has ever seen but Aljamain Sterling’s stats are just ridiculous.
  • He lands over 4 strikes per minute and as I mentioned a moment ago, that number has skyrocketed lately. He absorbs less than 1.5 significant strikes per minute. A big part of that is from his time spent controlling fighters in top control but it’s still incredible.

Both men are dead on at a 50% landing rate. Aljamain defends 69% of significant strikes and Cory is at 65%.

What about the ‘rasslin? Sterling met Jon Jones when he was wrestling in college in upstate New York and that is how he originally became interested in the sport of mixed martial arts.

After a couple of years of All America honors at SUNY Cortland, Sterling graduated and quickly made the transition to fighting. He won his first 12 professional contests including his first four with the UFC.

Then, he ran into Bryan Caraway, a scrappy grappler who got hated on so badly for dating Meisha Tate. No man could ever be deserving in the eyes of her superfans.

That was a split decision and so was his next fight and loss to the previously mentioned Raphael Assuncao. Since then, The Funkmaster is 6-1 inside the Octagon including winning his last 4 fights in a row.

Part of the reason I love to bet Sterling is that he is almost always stronger than his opponents and his wrestling attack is not only fine-tuned but relentless when it needs to be.

You only need a takedown accuracy of 33% to consistently win rounds if your other skills are up to par and you remain as persistent as needed.

The 0 for 7 in his last fight doesn’t bug me that bad. Pedro Munhoz has a gnarly guillotine and Aljo was winning the striking battle so he didn’t push an issue that didn’t need to be.

Pedro also has a much better center of gravity than Sandhagen. Cory is tall and long but has a stronger build than say Sean O’Malley… What a fun fight that would be! One day, let’s hope.

Sandhagen has solid takedown defense and he threatens with kimuras and guillotines. Assuncao was able to get his butt to the mat a few times in Cory’s last fight but he quickly got back to his feet. If Sterling gets him down, I don’t think it will be as quick of a rise.

The money has come in on Sandhagen. His speed advantage might give him the edge if he can defend the takedowns but small cage, eh… Very tough call so let’s enjoy the technical battle and bet the over.

In their previous 12 fights combined, these two have gone to the judges’ scorecards 9 times. I don’t really want to pay the juice but I think the over 2.5 rounds is the play here. I think this fight goes to a decision at least 8 times out of 10.

Each man throws with volume but neither has a suspect chin or a great deal of power. They are both excellent defensively and neither has been submitted in their UFC career.

My Pick

In Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to see this fight but, man, I really wish it was the main event and we could get a 5 round fight. A 3 rounder between these two might not tell us a lot.

I can see this one being very very close more often than not. Anyone who says they know who is going to win this fight is for lack of a better word, trippin’.

Don’t believe that stuff. They very well may guess correctly. The books have it as a pick’em so if flipping coins is your thing, then by all means… I fall victim to the egotistical part of the game just like anybody else at times and we have to catch ourselves.

We think we know what’s going to happen and sometimes trying and trying to figure it out leaves us more confused than when we started.

Just accept that, hey, we don’t know who is going to win. I don’t, at least, so I’m going to look for value elsewhere.

Paying the (-205) juice is not something I like to do very often but in this fight between two such high-level guys, I think we still have an edge on the books.

Get your bet in now, though, as this one will probably go up.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.