UFC on ESPN: Dillashaw vs. Sandhagen Picks


Bantamweight Bout: Cory Sandhagen (14-2) vs. TJ Dillashaw (16-4)

Luke Irwin: After being found with (checks notes) every performance-enhancing drug against Henry Cejudo, Dillashaw returns after a two-year suspension, and hot damn, thrown right into the deep-end, huh? He looked listless and weak in his bulldozing loss to Cejudo, so a return to bantamweight is a smart move, but he hasn’t finished a fighter not named Cody Garbrandt, a man Dillashaw was tailor-made to defeat, in nearly six years to the day. In Sandhagen, he’s facing a fighter in Sandhagen coming off of two absolute highlight-reel knockouts. He spinning-wheel kicked Marlon Moraoes, and then turned off Frankie Edgar with a flying knee. He’s in his absolute prime and a creaky Dillashaw with two years of ring rust shouldn’t pose too tough of a challenge. Sandhagen via R2 TKO.


Bantamweight Bout: Kyler Phillips (9-1) vs. Raulian Paiva (20-3)

Luke: Paiva is finally up to bantamweight after failed weight cuts cost him purses and fights from medical issues. In Phillips, he found a fighter who’ll take it right back to him. This should be a pretty back-and-forth contest, with both fighters not afraid to press forward. Both have solid chins so I don’t expect either to drop, but it should be close at the finish line of the newly-minuted co-main event. Phillips via SD.


Featherweight Bout: Darren Elkins (25-9) vs. Darrick Minner (26-11)

Luke: There’s no surprise to what Minner is going to bring. 22 out of 26 wins by submission. However, he’s facing one of the crustiest fighters in the UFC who’s seen everything. Elkins can certainly be beat, but he’s only lost by submission once, and it was to Charles Oliveira, and it was eleven years ago. Elkins should maintain this fight easily, staying out of trouble and cruising to a victory. Elkins via UD.



Women’s Flyweight Bout: Maycee Barber (8-2) vs. Miranda Maverick (9-2)

Luke: Barber took steps up in competition in her last two fights and fell short. In Maverick, she isn’t quite on the pure talent level of a Roxy Modafferi or even an Alexa Grasso, but she’s got momentum on her side and will come at her. Maverick via UD.





Bantamweight Bout: Adrian Yanez (13-3) vs. Randy Costa (6-1)

Luke: These boys are going to come out SWINGING. Yanez has a submission game that Costa more than likely cannot defend, but I don’t think he’s going to use it. Someone’s probably going to fall, here. Yanez via R2 KO.

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