After a bizarre week involving some of the UFC’s most unpredictable characters — Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev, Tony Ferguson and their supporting cast — the fight promotion gets back to normal (we think) on Saturday with a men’s bantamweight main event between contenders Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong.
The fights at UFC Apex in Las Vegas are on ESPN+, with the 7 p.m. ET main card preceded by prelims at 4 p.m.
Sandhagen (14-4) will be looking to bounce back from two straight losses. The defeats came against Petr Yan and TJ Dillashaw, both former champions. Just prior to those fights, Sandhagen had beaten another ex-champ, Frankie Edgar. Sandhagen is No. 7 in the ESPN men’s bantamweight rankings.
Former interim bantamweight title contender Cory Sandhagen takes on Song Yadong on Saturday to determine who will move closer to a title opportunity.
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Song
Saturday, Sept. 17, UFC Apex, Las Vegas
• Main card: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+
• Prelims: 4 p.m. on ESPN+
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Song (19-6-1, 1 NC) has won three fights in a row and has had just one loss in his last 12 bouts. He was No. 1 in ESPN’s most recent top 25 MMA fighters under age 25 voting in December, and last month was named the best 24-year-old in ESPN’s ranking of the top MMA fighter at every age, from age 21 to 42.
Stream all of the fights on ESPN+: Download the ESPN App
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There’s also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Men’s bantamweight: Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong
Middleweight: Chidi Njokuani vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Men’s featherweight: Andre Fili vs. Bill Algeo
Middleweight: Joe Pyfer vs. Alen Amedovski
Heavyweight: Tanner Boser vs. Rodrigo Nascimento
Middleweight: Anthony Hernandez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
ESPN+, 4 p.m. ET
Men’s featherweight: Damon Jackson vs. Pat Sabatini
Welterweight: Trevin Giles vs. Louis Cosce
Strawweight: Denise Gomes vs. Loma Lookboonmee
Lightweight: Trey Ogden vs. Daniel Zellhuber
Women’s flyweight: Mariya Agapova vs. Gillian Robertson
Men’s bantamweight: Tony Gravely vs. Javid Basharat
Lightweight: Nikolas Motta vs. Cameron VanCamp
Both fighters in this main event are excellent strikers who like to stand and trade. Both men use a high pace and want to pressure their opponents. However, Sandhagen uses rangy precision to bully his opponents with nearly 18 strike attempts per minute while standing. Though also usually an instigator on the feet, Song doesn’t keep quite the pace as Sandhagen. Combined with Song’s short reach, he could be put in the rare position of the counterstriker against Sandhagen. And if that’s the case, Song’s power is a risk against Sandhagen’s looser defense.
For Kuhn’s betting suggestion on the main event and his advice on other fights on Saturday’s card, check out the ESPN+ expert picks and best bets article (link below). That story also features analysis by MMA coach and UFC analyst Din Thomas and ESPN’s other betting expert, Ian Parker.
UFC Fight Night Sandhagen vs. Yadong: Expert picks and best bets
Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong bantamweight bout to headline UFC Fight Night on Sept. 17
Ranking the top 25 MMA fighters under age 25: Which two prospects earned all of the first-place votes?
MMA’s best fighter of every age, from age 21 to 42
MMA divisional rankings: Again a champ, Demetrious Johnson gets a boost in the flyweight top 10
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