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The main event comes in the Bantamweight divsion, as Cory Sandhagen takes on Song Yadong. A loser of two straight, albeit against two former Champions in Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw, Sandhagen is still among the divisions best – hence the main event slot. Knowing a victory will not only snap this skid, but keep him contention, expect the Sandman to come out guns blazing. Meanwhile, Yadong comes into this bout on a three fight win streak. Having gone 10-1-1 over the past twelve fights and at only 24 years old, Yadong looks to be a mainstay at 135 pounds for years to come. With this first main event slot and an opportunity to knock off the fourth ranked Sandhagen, with a victory, Yadong will catapult himself into the title mix.

An awesome fight, and part of the “Bantamweight Grand Prix”, the winner that comes out, will be among the top choices to vie for the title. A striker, Sandhagen boasts solid output and footwork. With excellent size for the division, the lanky Sandhagen is literally a tall task for anyone. Backed by solid cardio, Sandhagen puts forth a pace that breaks fighters. If there was any lacking aspect of his game though, it would be his wrestling. Not only is he not a threat to bring the fight to the mat, but his takedown defense is something that has often been exploited. However, against T.J. Dillashaw, Sandhagen shrugged off seventeen of nineteen attempts to improve his takedown accuracy to 65% in the UFC. As for Yadong, he isn’t your average prospect. Having started fighting at sixteen years old, Yadong has already accumulated twenty-six fights. Primarily a striker, Yadong is crisp and powerful. Landing nearly five significant strikes per minute, Yadong boasts excellent output. Impressively, in ten UFC fights, Yadong has only been out-struck once.

In what should be a barnburner, I’m going with Sandhagen. While Yadong does have the power edge and is no slouch in the output department, Sandhagen is an absolute workhorse. Throw in the three inch height and reach advantage, along with his quickness, and I’m expecting Sandhagen to have no issues getting off his offense. Considering this is a five round fight and Sandhagen has just fought for 25 minutes in back-to-back fights, I think his experience and cardio edge will see him as the fresher foe in the Championship rounds. So with that said, I predict Sandhagen will win via a late TKO stoppage.

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