On Saturday night, Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen stepped into the main event spotlight for a high-stakes bantamweight showdown at The AT&T Center.
Going into the bout riding a four-fight win streak, ‘Chito’ Vera finds himself on the cusp of a UFC bantamweight title opportunity. Hoping to stop Vera’s momentum was Sanghagen, a division staple who has gone 3-2 in his last five with wins over Marlon Moraes, Frankie Edgar, and Song Yadong. ‘The Sandman’ could add his name to a very short list of potential title contenders with a win over the No. 3 ranked Marlon Vera.
As expected, Cory Sandhagen was the aggressor early as Vera is a notoriously slow starter inside the Octagon. Sandhagen put his calf kicks to work early, but picked up the pace nearly the halfway point of the first, moving in for a takedown. Sandhagen works Vera to the canvas and immediately begins firing away with heavy shots and slicing elbows through the end of the round. Sandhagen’s aggressiveness continued in the second with him pushing the pace and taking things to the ground a minute into the round. Vera was able to get back to his feet with 80 seconds left in the round but offered little offense after 10 minutes.
Marlon Vera picked up the pace in the third, mixing up his kicks and punches in an attempt to make the fight much more competitive. However, Sandhagen was still clearly in control, mixing up his strikes with the occasional takedown attempt. As a result, Vera was unable to truly get his offense going through the third and fourth rounds. In the final five minutes, Sandhagen relied heavily on his wrestling early, tying up and taking down Vera. ‘Chito’ fought his way back up, but was still unable to land anything dangerous. With 10 seconds left, Vera finally kicked it into high gear, but by then it was too little too late.
Official Result: Cory Sandhagen def. Marlon Vera via split decision (47-48, 50-45, 49-46)