Odds: Sandhagen (-185), Dillashaw (+160)
This is a really great fight in the bantamweight division and the winner will most likely be catapulted into receiving the next title shot after Sterling and Yan rematch later this year. Sandhagen has emerged as a top fighter in the bantamweight division and slowly but surely has been fighting better fighters over time, with his most recent wins coming by spectacular finishes over Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes. If he has one major flag on his fighting abilities it is his wrestling game as it is not great and something he can not truly rely on in fights. However he makes up for it in his ability to get back up to his feet and push a good pace.
TJ Dillashaw was once the best bantamweight in the world and while that feels like forever ago now, he is only a couple of years removed from spot at the top of the food chain. A USADA drug test failure for EPO caused him to relinquish the bantamweight title and sit on the sidelines for two years. Dillashaw is 35 now and while I still think he can compete with most of the fighters at 135, I can not be confident in him enough to back him in his first fight back against a talented, top fighter in Sandhagen. Dillashaw has already shown in a few of his last fights that his chin has not been great as he has been hurt by Cody Garbrandt and finished in a first round 0:32 knockout loss to Henry Cejudo for the flyweight championship.
Sandhagen is also surging at this spot in his career here and can only go up, and as for Dillashaw I am not really sure how he will look after a two year lay off and now possibly being clean for the first time in a long time at 35 years old. Could Dillashaw return to somewhat of his prime and outpoint and outstrike Sandhagen to a decision? Absolutely, but I’m not confident in that happening. Dillashaw could use his wrestling to win rounds as that is the achilles heel of Sandhagen’s game but when have we ever seen Dillashaw use wrestling consistently in his fights to win? I think Dillashaw keeps it standing with Sandhagen and maybe has flashes of success in the first round but, eventually I think Sandhagen catches him with something for a knockout finish in the second round.
Prop: Sandhagen wins by TKO (+115)
Thanks for reading and best of luck!