By: Eugene Boicuks
Saturday night’s UFC 250 event, which will take place at the APEX facility in Las Vegas, will highlight the promotion’s stacked Bantamweight division. The Sugar Show returns, as the undefeated Sean O’Malley takes on a veteran in Eddie Wineland, and former 135- pound champion Cody Garbrandt returns to take on long-time contender Raphael Assuncao.
However, the match-up of Aljamain Sterling (18-3) and Cory Sandhagen (12-1) stands out to many fans and experts as the most interesting fight on the card. The argument could be made that this bout should be the card’s co-main event, given the resumes of both men, as well as the fact that this fight will most likely act as a title-eliminator for the currently vacant Bantamweight strap.
Aljamain Sterling, who was seen by many as a grappler before his last fight, is on a four-fight winning streak and will hope to continue to display his ever-growing crisp striking and elusive movement which saw him outpoint Pedro Munhoz at UFC 238 last year.
The ‘Funk Master’ has been vocal about the UFC’s choice to put Russian contender Petr Yan ahead of himself, and Sandhagen in the title picture, and told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani it feels like “a slap in the face, and disrespectful to the entire division.” Sterling did acknowledge that all he can do is keep winning and that a win against Sandhagen will solidify himself as the number 1 contender for the belt.
Cory Sandhagen has been on a path of destruction since joining the UFC in 2018, and in his short time with the promotion has already accumulated five wins, with John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao acting as the ‘Sandman’s’ most notable victims.
Sandhagen has proven to be a complete martial artist whose impressive striking and grappling skills, combined with his entertaining style have made him one of the UFC’s most under-appreciated contenders.
A true pick-em fight, both fighters are elite contenders with everything to gain. Sandhagen, a former Featherweight, will enter the fight the taller, bigger man so it will be interesting to see how this influences proceedings.
This fight could honestly go either way and could stay on the feet or end up being a grappling match, both of which would be fun to watch. I predict a close decision in favor of Aljamain Sterling, but regardless of the outcome, one thing seems almost certain. That on a night where Bantamweight takes center stage, this fight will steal the show.