Sandhagen outwrestles Font in one-sided victory


It wasn’t a fan-friendly performance, but UFC bantamweight Cory Sandhagen made Rob Font‘s life absolutely miserable for 25 minutes in their main-event matchup Saturday.

Sandhagen (17-4) picked up his third consecutive win, thoroughly dismantling Font (20-7) on the ground at UFC Fight Night inside Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Sandhagen scored a takedown in each of the five rounds and spent more than 19 minutes in control, according to UFC Stats. All three judges scored the 140-pound catchweight bout 50-45 in favor of Sandhagen.

Fans in attendance booed Sandhagen throughout the dominant performance, as very little drama unfolded thanks to his grappling control. The No. 4-ranked bantamweight apologized afterward and revealed he was dealing with injuries.

“Usually I’m a more exciting fighter,” Sandhagen said. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of elbow problems. I think I tore my triceps in the first round. It was technical as hell. I’m a wrestler now, so sorry.”

Font’s corner tried to get him to rally, especially after the third round, but he simply didn’t have the wrestling ability to match Sandhagen. He also took the fight on short notice, which is why it was fought at a 140-pound catchweight.

In all, Sandhagen absorbed only 33 strikes from Font, while landing 112 of his own. He converted all seven takedown attempts.

Fighting out of Aurora, Colorado, Sandhagen’s only three losses in the UFC have come against current or former champions: Aljamain Sterling, TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan. He was originally supposed to face the highly touted Umar Nurmagomedov, cousin of retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, on Saturday, but Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury.

Sterling is scheduled to defend his title against Sean O’Malley in the main event of UFC 292 on Aug. 18 in Boston. Sandhagen called for the winner.

“Sterling, O’Malley, I’ll see you in Boston,” Sandhagen said. “I got next.”

In the co-main event, undefeated Tatiana Suarez (10-0) took out a former champion in Jessica Andrade (24-12) in her first appearance at strawweight since June 2019.

Long considered one of the top prospects at 115 pounds, Suarez has been plagued by injuries over the past four years, but looked terrific in a second-round submission over Andrade. Suarez, who had Olympic wrestling aspirations before a cancer diagnosis, dragged Andrade down with a front headlock and locked up a guillotine choke at 1:31 of the round.

Suarez, 32, isn’t far from title contention with the win. Before her long absence at 115 pounds, Suarez had racked up four wins inside the weight class, including a victory over current flyweight champ Alexa Grasso.

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