This is the fight that everyone wanted to see and I am so glad it worked out that way. The UFC’s Bantamweight Division is just incredibly stacked!
At the top is, of course, Petr Yan who is coming off of the illegal knee disqualification loss to Aljamain Sterling, and as much of a fan as I am of Aljo, I have to put Yan above him right now.
The sportsbooks more than agree with me too as Yan entered the Octagon at UFC 260 a betting underdog to the New York native. This was quite disrespectful and Yan “almost” made them pay.
— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
The betting odds for that rematch, though, are astronomical compared to what they were in the first meeting just a few weeks ago. We are almost at (-300) for the Russian at this point and making me wonder if I should now take a shot on Aljo…Nahhhh
This division is so incredibly talented!
- Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz are both coming off of hard fought victories vs promising up and coming fighters in Marlon Vera and Casey Kenney, respectively. Those were close fights but the former world champions proved they belong in the top ten of the division.
- You also have Rob Font looking better than ever, Cody Garbrandt is back and supposedly more disciplined. We will have to see about that.
- Then there are the wrestlers like Ricky Simon, Cody Stamann, and Merab Dvalishvilli who can pretty much take everyone down. So, that’s a problem.
- Kyler The Matrix Philipps looked incredible in his last fight as he dominated Yadong Song as an underdog. Raoni Barcelos is a problem. Salty Sean O’Malley is there too if he can grow up but that doesn’t seem likely to happen very soon.
I could keep going but let’s focus on the top of the division and two of the best strikers in mixed martial arts today. TJ Dillashaw was suspended for 2 years and admitted cheating and using EPO which significantly increases your endurance.
TJ Dillashaw opened up about his suspension today. Say what you will about TJ, the way he’s handled this since breaking the news himself has been contrary to what most athletes have done in his shoes. He’s owned up to it all and has offered no excuses.https://t.co/VJS4UsMMPN pic.twitter.com/KlEqexQKVk
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 26, 2019
This means you can get bigger and stronger without it affecting your cardio as much. So, don’t just think that it will be only his endurance that will suffer.
We don’t really know what to expect from TJ but other than the whole cheating thing, he has been quite the professional always showing up in shape ready to fight. Well, that is except for the time that he did his best Dallas Buyers Club Alright Alright Alright, and cut to 125 pounds to fight Henry Cejudo.
That is not what a world class athlete is supposed to look like.
Our betting odds we will use today to pick a winner of this fight based on value are provided by the good folks over at BetOnline.AG.
TJ Dillashaw (-110) vs Cory Sandhagen (-110)
Wow, dead even. The books are thinking they are going to let the public do the work for them here and I do actually blame them.
I think Cory Sandhagen should be a betting favorite in this fight against TJ.
To start, he is 5 inches taller. Cory has a 3 inch advantage in reach. That helps quite a bit. Oh, and Sandhagen is also a full 6 years younger than Dillashaw who just hit the 35 mark.
We already discussed the 2-year suspension. That will affect his performance; both the extended time off and the fact that he isn’t on performance enhancing drugs any longer. These are already 5 boxes checked in favor of Cory Sandhagen.
Could TJ pull the wrestling out of the bag because he is more than well aware of the striking prowess of his opponent. Just listen to this.
Well, there you go. This is pretty telling. If Cory is getting the better of TJ before he even made it to the big show and also before TJ took years off of competition and quit the sauce…
Sandhagen should be the favorite. I know TJ is talented and a former dominant world champion but 35 in Bantamweight years is more like 38 or 39. Smaller fighters are much faster so the smallest decrease in your reaction time which is usually the first thing to go around the mid to late 30s, can lead to a devastating knockout.
Cory has a very similar style to TJ Dillashaw and I know that he has emulated him.
That means he knows his opponents’ game better than most. Cory Sandhagen is just a larger, younger, longer version of TJ.
As long as Cory keeps this one standing, it seems like from the IG video that he was already in the head of his opponent years ago. TJ is a dog, though, and he will certainly fight for your money but he is a high volume guy who will be outsized and reached by a fighter who is even more high volume.
I’m not saying this is a lock or a slam dunk or anything but I think these betting odds should have opened at least 60/40 in favor of the younger fighter. TJ could pull a fast one on us and shoot under one of Cory’s long hard punches and get the takedown.
I am pushing so hard for Cory here because of the betting line. As popular as TJ is, I don’t see the betting line moving too much in his direction.
I think by fight time, Cory will be a (-150) favorite if not slightly more. So, jump on it now when you can get nearly even money at (-110). TJ has the high level experience box checked but now that Aljo is the champ, that makes two straight world champs Cory has fought.
You guys haven’t forgotten about his flying knee knockout of the legendary Frankie Edgar, have you?
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 7, 2021
That was filthy!
I am most certainly going with Cory Sandhagen to get the win here against TJ Dillashaw. Fighters historically are worse versions of themselves from 33 to 35.
They will both be familiar with each other’s styles but Cory will also have the mile high air to compliment his cardio while TJ is likely to be at sea level where he has been training in California.
This is such an incredible matchup!
I don’t think I want to wait a couple of months for this one. I wish we were getting to see it this weekend as the co-main event for the UFC Heavyweight Title Fight at UFC 260 but nahhh.
We have to wait until a UFC Fight Night on May 8th before these two let their hands fly. What is really cool, though, is that they will be fighting in Houston, Texas and yes, there will be fans there!
There won’t be too many, I’m sure, so the “Whooo, whooos” will once again annoy the living crap out of everyone who isn’t making that sill noise at the time. That has been the best part about COVID, no UFC fans whoooing for no reason.
We will have some fans cheering, though, and that is something I have missed. I remember Stipe and DC 3 was the strangest fight. Not only was it the least exciting of their three fights but without the fans, it was just plain awkward. One thing I have loved, though, is hearing the strikes land. I am an auditory learner and that’s how I like to hit pads and the bag. Learn by sound and feel just like a musical instrument. Well, if the fans get too loud, you can’t hear the shots. In the early days of Ammy MMA and Muay Thai shows, I was either cornering, fighting, or even judging so I stayed ringside and fell in love with the sounds.Then, I went to a live UFC and sat way up high and felt completely detached from the action. I recommend that if you guys ever go to a show, pay the money for the close seats. You will regret not paying if you end up having to watch the jumbotron the whole time.
Get those bets in now, though, for Cory Sandhagen. I think he is easily 60/40 to get this win and the books have it 50/50. That is a nice edge for a 2 unit play!