Sandhagen (14-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) predicted Petr Yan would beat Sterling in both their title fights, but was wrong each time. Bantamweight champion Sterling meets T.J. Dillashaw in the UFC 280 co-main event on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, and Sandhagen sees Sterling retaining his title.
Having lost to both Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) and Dillashaw (17-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), Sandhagen thinks stylistically Sterling has the edge and expects him to use his grappling prowess to win – the same way he did when he submitted Sandhagen quickly and controlled Yan in the rematch by taking his back for almost two full rounds.
“I’ve got Aljamain in that one,” Sandhagen told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC Fight Night 210 media day Wednesday in Las Vegas. “One reason is because I counted him out so big against Yan, so I won’t do that again. And then another one is just because I think what Aljamain does, he does really world-class – like best in the world at doing it ,which is getting his hands on you, taking your back and win in that way.
“And I think that in order to not have that be the case, you have to have a lot of stopping power and you have to – like, that’s not an easy style to beat by any means, and I just don’t think that T.J. has the amount of stopping power in his punches and his attacks in order to stop Aljamain from running over there, grabbing him and taking his back.”
Sandhagen will look to rebound from back-to-back losses to Yan and Dillashaw when he takes on Song Yadong in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 210 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 210.