In what would make his second appearance at Bantamweight in the UFC since his return from Featherweight, Cory Sandhagen (10-1) made quick work of his opponent, Mario Bautista (6-1), securing the victory via submission (armbar) in the first round of their contest en route to his fifth (5) consecutive professional win (and finish). Sandhagen’s submission victory at UFC Fight Night 143 (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY) also improved his overall record in the UFC to 3-0; none of these contests have gone to the judge’s scorecards (1 SUB, 2 TKO).
Despite being taken down once by Bautista, Sandhagen was never really in any trouble on Saturday. He had complete control of the fight – attempting multiple submissions before ultimately securing the armbar for the finish – a three and a half minute puzzle, if you will. His performance at UFC Brooklyn provided only a glimpse of what Cory Sandhagen brings to the octagon in terms of sheer talent and grit.
Every fighter, man or woman, that competes in the UFC has grit, but Sandhagen is a true warrior in every sense of the word. I think back to the armbar he was on the other side of in his bout with Iuri Alcântara (35-10)at UFC Lincoln in August ’18. That armbar was TIGHT – Sandhagen told reporters following the fight, he literally heard his arm “pop” – and he still didn’t tap out? That’s a tough S.O.B!
Sandhagen secured the memorable comeback over Alcântara via TKO (punches) as the latter fighter’s stamina depleted following one of the craziest rounds in recent UFC history in any weight class. If that fight was originally aired on ESPN, Cory Sandhagen would’ve already been a fan favorite for many fans – greenhorn and casual alike. With that being said, his fan base is already growing and will continue to expand with entertaining performances put on display on a major platform like ESPN.
So, what’s in store for Cory Sandhagen’s future? He declined a specific “callout” when given the opportunity in his UFC Brooklyn post-fight interview, however, Sandhagen did mention he would like to face an opponent ranked in the “Top 10 or Top 15” for his next fight. Personally, I would like to see Sandhagen fight his originally scheduled opponent for UFC Brooklyn – “Hands of Stone” John Lineker (31-8) – next. I believe that is a smart, win win opportunity for the UFC in re-booking that fight; if Lineker wins, he could potentially align himself to get a title shot – if Sandhagen wins, it will only help his ascent in the Bantamweight rankings. It’s almost certain to be a violent, entertaining contest. In the end, isn’t that all we really want as fight fans?