Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song – UFC

The electric action at the top of the bantamweight division continues in this weekend’s main event, as Cory Sandhagen squares off with Song Yadong.
Cory Sandhagen prepares to fight Petr Yan of Russia in the UFC interim bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 267 event at Etihad Arena on October 30, 2021 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The 30-year-old Sandhagen is in a bit of a tricky spot right now, having lost two straight, while being ultra-competitive in both, with many feeling like he did enough to defeat TJ Dillashaw prior to his interim title fight loss to Petr Yan. Nonetheless, the Elevation Fight Team member remains one of the best fighters in the 135-pound weight class and will surely be looking to remind everyone of that when he steps in against Song on Saturday.
Watch UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song on ESPN+!
Entering on a three-fight winning streak and brandishing a stellar 10-1-1 record over his last dozen fights, Song makes his first appearance in a UFC main event this weekend. The 24-year-old Chinese standout, who trains with Team Alpha MMA in Sacramento, has earned back-to-back stoppage victories, and is already 8-1-1 in the UFC.
Two critical matchups featuring Top 10 talents in the bantamweight division are already in the books and there are more on tap next month, making Saturday’s finale another major piece in the puzzle when it comes to figuring out how things will line up in the title picture heading into the final two months of the year and beyond.
Chidi Njokuani knees Dusko Todorovic of Montenegro in a middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 21, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chidi Njokuani and Gregory Rodrigues face off in a clash of middleweight finishers.
A 27-fight veteran when he stepped onto the Contender Series last fall, Njokuani punched his ticket to the UFC with a third-round stoppage win over Mario Sousa before earning back-to-back Performance of the Night bonuses for consecutive first-round stoppage victories over Marc-Andre Barriault and Dusko Todorovic to begin his UFC tenure. The 32-year-old has now won four straight overall — all by stoppage — and should have a willing dance partner in there with him this weekend, giving him plenty of opportunities to keep his “hit streak” going.
HIGHLIGHTS: Njokuani Gets KO Win His Debut | Rodrigues Gets Wild KO Win Over Park
The 30-year-old Rodrigues has gone 3-1 in four Octagon appearances and arrives in Las Vegas after getting back into the win column with a first-round knockout win over Julian Marquez in June. His lone setback since arriving on the big stage came by split decision in February, with the Brazilian posting an 11-2 record overall after beginning his career with a single victory in his first three starts.
This should be thrilling for as long as it lasts, and there is a real possibility that it doesn’t last long, so be sure to buckle up and enjoy!
The two men that have shared the Octagon with Joanderson Brito this year now share the cage together, as Andre Fili takes on Bill Algeo in a clash of veteran featherweights.
Fili is the most recent of the two to face Brito, a member of the DWCS Class of ’21, falling to the Brazilian in 41 seconds at the end of April. The divisional mainstay is working through the roughest stretch of his career, returning to Las Vegas having earned just a single victory in his last five appearances, to go along with three losses and a no contest.
FREE FIGHTS: Sandhagen vs Alcantara | Song vs Moraes
Algeo is the one who welcomed Brito to the Octagon for the first time in January, using his veteran guile and savvy to outwork the newcomer on the way to a unanimous decision win. He followed that up by battering Herbert Burns into defeat early in the second round of their clash on Long Island, and looks to make it three straight this weekend when he steps in with Fili.
Tanner Boser of Canada punches Ovince Saint Preux in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Heavyweights who were originally supposed to face off in April do so this weekend instead, as Tanner Boser returns to take on Brazilian Rodrigo Nascimento.
Alberta’s Boser hasn’t competed in well over a year, as an opponent’s travel issues scuttled one proposed matchup and his own injury dashed plans for another. The 31-year-old is just 4-3 under the UFC banner, but his last two setbacks were close, uneventful fights that pushed him to be more aggressive in the cage, and helped produce a knockout win over Ovince Saint Preux in his most recent appearance.
View The Entire Card Here
Nascimento hasn’t fought since his second-round stoppage win over Alan Baudot in July 17 after the bout was declared a no contest and the Brazilian was flagged for failing a post-fight drug test. He was set to return in April against Boser, but withdrew for undisclosed reasons, and hits the Octagon this weekend looking for his first victory since collecting a second-round submission win over Don’Tale Mayes in May 2020.
Boser wants to be more active — both in terms of appearances and effort in the Octagon — and Nascimento has never been out of the second round in 10 career bouts, so expect a fast pace out of the gate and neither man to let off the gas.
Anthony Hernandez and Marc-Andre Barriault square off in a middleweight bout.
One in the long line of former LFA middleweight titleholders to matriculate to the UFC, Hernandez has been hit-and-miss through his first five Octagon appearances. He lost by anaconda choke in his debut, won by anaconda choke in his sophomore outing, and then got steamrolled by Kevin Holland at the start of the talkative talent’s five-fight run of success in 2020.
Check-Out What’s Happening In The Middleweight Division
Hernandez bounced back by submitting Rodolfo Vieira, but wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum, as injuries forced him to withdraw from a pair of matchups before he ultimately returned in May with a solid win over newcomer Josh Fremd.
As for Barriault, just when he started to have things moving in the right direction, collecting a pair of victories, the French-Canadian ran into Njokuani and got stopped in 16 seconds. He’s since rebounded with a first-round submission win over Jordan Wright but needs to once again start stringing together victories in order to make real headway in the middleweight division.
Pat Sabatini reacts after his victory over Tucker Lutz in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Featherweights on the cusp of cracking the Top 15 face off in what should be a spirited battle as Damon Jackson takes on Pat Sabatini.
Fortis MMA’s Jackson enters on a three-fight winning streak and having won four of five since making his return to the UFC. “The Leech” has constantly worked to improve his hands, but has mostly earned his keep on the canvas, having earned 15 of his 21 career wins by way of submission.
Take A Look At The UFC Featherweight Rankings
The 31-year-old Sabatini has gone 4-0 to begin his UFC tenure and looks for a fifth straight victory inside the UFC APEX this weekend. A two-time CFFC featherweight champion and member of the emerging Philly squad that includes Sean Brady, Jeremiah Wells and Andre Petroski, Sabatini is also excellent on the ground, with 10 of 17 wins coming by submission finish.
This should be technical and filled with scrambles and counters, with the winner making a real case for a chance to face someone with a number next to their name next time out.
Trevin Giles prepares to fight Michael Morales of Ecuador in their welterweight fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Trevin Giles makes his second start at welterweight, while Louis Cosce makes his second UFC start when the two face-off this weekend in Las Vegas.
Giles landed in the UFC as an undefeated light heavyweight prospect coming off a win over Ryan Spann. He earned his debut win in the 205-pound ranks before moving to middleweight, where he went 4-3. Last time out, the Houston police officer dropped to the 170-pound ranks and ran into a long right hand from newcomer Michael Morales, sending him into this weekend’s contest on a two-fight skid.
View The Athlete Profiles: Trevin Giles | Louis Cosce
Cosce went 5-0 on the regional circuit before a first-round stoppage win over Victor Reyna on Season 4 of Dana White’s Contender Series punched his ticket to the UFC. He debuted three months later, starting quickly before fading hard and getting stopped by Sasha Palatnikov.
Each man enters with plenty of questions to answer and little room to deal with another setback, so do be surprised if this one starts quickly and stays action-packed.
The second member of the DWCS Class of 2022 hits the Octagon on Saturday, as Week 1 winner Joe Pyfer squares off with Alen Amedovski in a middleweight bout on this weekend’s preliminary card.
A little over seven weeks after impressing UFC President Dana White with his second-round stoppage win over LFA champ Ozzy Diaz, Pyfer looks to secure his third straight victory and a win in his UFC debut. The 25-year-old now trains alongside Sabatini in Philadelphia under Daniel Gracie and carries fight-changing power in his hands.
Amedovski has struggled to replicate the success he enjoyed on the regional circuit prior to joining the UFC roster since being called to compete inside the Octagon. After beginning his career with eight straight victories, the middleweight, who represents both Macedonia and Italy, has dropped three straight, the last two in a combined 78 seconds.
Aspen Ladd punches Raquel Pennington in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Veteran bantamweights Aspen Ladd and Sara McMann will finally share the Octagon this weekend after agreeing to face each other twice before without success.
Once considered a can’t-miss prospect, the 27-year-old Ladd enters this one facing a lot of questions about her future. She’s managed just one win in her last four outings and has dropped two straight, in addition to dealing with injuries, COVID, and various weight-cutting issues.
Now 41 years old, the former title challenger McMann arrives in Las Vegas having earned a good win over Karol Rosa last time out. She’s been a staple in the Top 15 since arriving on the big stage, but has never quite put it all together as a mixed martial artist at the highest level, entering Saturday’s contest with a 7-6 record inside the Octagon.
It feels like a lot of people have questions about Ladd, but she’s still only 27 years old and was once a rising star in the division, while McMann seems ageless and keeps making small improvements each time out, putting herself in a position to earn arguably the biggest win of her career this weekend.
This is an absolutely fascinating fight.
Loma Lookboonmee of Thailand kicks Sam Hughes in a strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
It’s a clash between strawweights on Saturday night, as Loma Lookboonmee takes on Denise Gomes.
All things considered, Lookboonmee has had a pretty solid start to her UFC career, going 3-2 overall, with her tandem setbacks coming in bouts where far more experienced and established fighters — Angela Hill and Loopy Godinez — tagged in on short notice. The Thai prospect hasn’t competed in 10 months since her loss to Godinez, but has shown constant growth since transitioning to MMA less than five years ago.
Another member of the DWCS Class of 2022 to make their UFC debut, Gomes stepped in for Diana Belbita on short notice after earning her contract on episode five on August 23, and the 22-year-old from Brazil will attempt to extend her current winning streak to seven by beating Lookboonmee.
Trey Ogden returns for his second start inside the Octagon, welcoming DWCS grad Daniel Zellhuber to the UFC this weekend in Las Vegas.
A three-fight winning streak capped by a second-round submission win in front of the Lookin’ for a Fight crew landed the 32-year-old Ogden the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in the sport. Unfortunately, the “Samurai Ghost” landed on the wrong side of a split decision verdict in a fight against Jordan Leavitt.
The undefeated Zellhuber went the distance for just the third time in a dozen fights in his DWCS appearance last autumn, but still did enough to impress Dana White & Co. and earn a contract. Long and tall for the lightweight division, Zellhuber, who has been preparing at Xtreme Couture, is a perfect 12-0 overall with an assortment of finishes on his resume.
Ogden has a slight edge in experience, both in terms of number of fights and level of competition, but Zellhuber looks like a promising prospect, so it will be interesting to see whether the more seasoned veteran or the 23-year-old neophyte emerges victorious.
Twenty-something flyweights with a solid amount of experience Mariya Agapova and Gillian Robertson meet on Saturday in a compelling preliminary card clash.
The 25-year-old Agapova has been hit-and-miss throughout her first 13 professional fights, earning 10 victories and eight finishes, but struggling at times to fight within herself and make the right decisions inside the Octagon. She’s alternated wins and losses, great performances with rough outings through her first four UFC starts, entering this weekend’s bout off a second-round submission loss to Maryna Moroz at UFC 272 in March.
Everything you just read about Agapova applies to the 27-year-old Robertson as well, as “The Savage” touches down in Las Vegas with a 10-7 record overall, a 7-5 mark inside the Octagon, and good efforts mixed with bad. She’s dropped three of her last four, but also has the most finishes in flyweight division history, making it difficult to forecast what kind of performance we’ll see each time she steps into the cage.
Each woman has earned eight of their 10 wins inside the distance and both can be overly aggressive with their attacks at times, so expect a fast-paced, all-action contest once things get underway in this one on Saturday.
Tony Gravely reacts after his knockout victory over Johnny Munoz in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Tony Gravely looks to earn a third straight victory and fifth win in six starts, while Javid Basharat aims to remain undefeated and collect the biggest victory of his career in this terrific bantamweight fight on this weekend’s card.
Gravely was a standout on the regional circuit for a number of years before finally getting the chance to compete inside the Octagon, and he’s largely carried on the same way since moving to the UFC. The American Top Team representative is 4-2 overall, but has won four of five since dropping his debut, entering Saturday’s contest off a sharp knockout win over Johnny Munoz in June.
RELATED: Basharat Is Taking The Leap
Perfect through a dozen fights to begin his career, Basharat went the distance for the first time in his UFC debut in March, earning a unanimous decision win over Trevin Jones. The Afghani bantamweight is now based in Las Vegas with his brother Farid and flyweight standout Amir Albazi, and can take a big step forward in the talent-rich bantamweight ranks with a victory over Gravely this weekend.
Can the more experienced, more tested Gravely keep rolling and halt Basharat’s unbeaten run or will “The Snow Leopard” maintain his clean sheet and establish himself as an ascending star by turning back Gravely?
Lightweights coming off stoppage losses in their respective debuts cross paths this weekend, as Nikolas Motta takes on Cameron VanCamp.
The 29-year-old Motta earned his UFC contract on Season 4 of Dana White’s Contender Series, but didn’t make his debut until this February, where he ran afoul of veteran Jim Miller. Prior to that setback, “Iron” earned wins in four of his last five, including a third-round knockout of fellow UFC lightweight Joe Solecki.
VanCamp was penciled in to face Motta last September, but the bout never came to fruition. Instead, he made his promotional debut up a division at UFC 274, stinging Andre Fialho a couple times before catching a left hook that knocked him out midway through the opening stanza. Before that, the 29-year-old Indiana resident had earned four straight victories and went 7-2 with one no contest in his previous 10 outings.
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 17, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses – and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass
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