Cory Sandhagen pulled off an impressive victory in the main event of UFC Fight Night at Fight Island against former title challenger Marlon Moraes. Sandhagen finished Moraes with a wonderfully-timed spinning heel kick at the beginning of the second round.
Sandhagen looked impressive in the first round, using the jab and calf-kicks to probe at the Brazilian. "The Sandman" kept switching stances to set up the body kick from the southpaw stance and almost caught Moraes with a step-in knee at the end of the first round.
The 28-year-old American pointed at Moraes at the beginning of the second round, calling out what appeared to be a broken orbital for his opponent. The fight-ending kick came soon after, with the 32-year-old admittedly distracted by Sandhagen's gamesmanship.
Marlon Moraes, the number 1 ranked contender in the division coming into the fight, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing bout against Jose Aldo (which he won via a decision). With Sandhagen beating Moraes, it puts him in contention for a title shot next.
Sandhagen to be overlooked for a title shot?
The bantamweight division looks more competitive than ever, with Dana White hinting that Aljamain Sterling is next in line for a title shot against champion Petr Yan.
"I am pretty sure it is. We would have announced it by now, but it’s [next title contender] more likely to be Aljamain Sterling," said Dana White after the fight.
Sterling beat Sandhagen in 90 seconds earlier in the year securing his shot for the title. Yan, just 27-years-old, won the Bantamweight championship at UFC 251 against Jose Aldo.
T.J. Dillashaw who got banned from MMA for two years after testing positive for EPO in January 2019 is due to be back earlier next year. He is a former training partner of Sandhagen. The 28-year-old admitted in his post-fight interview that Dillishaw or Frankie Edgar might be ahead of him in the pecking order for a title-shot.
Here are the best Tweets from Sanhagen's fight against Moraes