Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar are set to clash in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 18 this Saturday. The bout holds major importance in the UFC’s bantamweight division with the winner likely emerging as one of the next in line for a shot at the title following Petr Yan’s upcoming title defense against Aljamain Sterling.
Sandhagen (13-2) has proven to be one of the most skilled bantamweight fighters in the UFC’s 135-pound division with six wins to his name since joining in January 2018. Sandhagen’s only fault came against current title challenger Aljamain Sterling back in June last year when he lost via first-round rear-naked choke. Sandhagen returned to form by beating Marlon Moraes in October.
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar earned a split decision win in his drop down to 135 pounds in August last year. Edgar defeated Pedro Munhoz in a competitive five-round fight and snapped his two-fight losing streak.
Sandhagen vs. Edgar betting odds
Sandhagen vs. Edgar predictions
In a video posted to The Body Lock’s YouTube channel, Patrick Auger and Drake Riggs discussed Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar and shared their predictions ahead of the co-main event this Saturday.
“Frankie is one of the wrestlers that I like to put in the category of ‘has been in the UFC too long.’ And what I mean by that is that there are wrestlers who adapt and continue to use their wrestling as their main go-to and that’s their thing; then there’s wrestlers who get into the UFC — and MMA – and they start to strike and they need to get their striking better and all they work on is their striking until it becomes ‘oh, I’m not really a wrestler, I throw punches.’ Yoel Romero is a perfect example of that. It happens a lot in the sport and Frankie has kind of gone that route at this point.
“Against Sandhagen, he can’t stand up with him. Sandhagen, I think, will just clean his clock if he stands up with him. Especially when we’ve seen Korean Zombie knock him out and Ortega knock him out. Frankie’s going to need to go to his wrestling. Will he able to hold him down long enough?
“But that all being said… I think there’s something that needs to be said about these guys in higher weight classes when they make the move down. I think in the first fight or two we can kind of tell — depending on the weight cut and how they look on the scale — how they’re going to look in this weight class or if the dehydration will hurt them more.
“I think him moving down to 135 pounds… I’m actually thinking he might be stronger than we think. Even though Sandhagen is big and the sport has evolved now where we’ve got guys cutting weight more than they ever used to. I still think Edgar might have the strength advantage. If he does, and he utilizes that wrestling it could be a problem for Sandhagen. He could grind out a decision win.”
– Frankie Edgar to win
“Stylistically, I struggle to see Frankie, especially on the feet, with somebody as diversely lethal as Cory Sandhagen has proven to be. I don’t think it’s going to be a good night for him [Edgar]. Frankie will have to take it to the ground and even then I’m not confident that Sandhagen will be able to hold Sandhagen down so much compared to somebody superior in strength and just more in their prime right now as Aljamain Sterling is, for example.
“In the Munhoz fight and his last couple of fights… he doesn’t use his wrestling as much as he once did. And of course, against Munhoz that’s a dangerous game to play that game with that guy. It made sense why he didn’t try to take the fight there in that one. In this case, he should. But will he? It’s never been a main path to victory that he’s been willing to run down.
“I think it’s a very tough one for him. I think Sandhagen should be a pretty solid favorite. I’d be very surprised if Frankie managed to pull this off.”
– Sandhagen to win
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.