The no. 3 and no. 5 UFC bantamweight fighters, Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen, headlined UFC San Antonio. With a potential title shot on the line, it was going to be a barnburner for sure. Both fighters had some significant wins heading into the bout and brought a great deal of confidence to the Octagon. So, which rising contender ultimately got the job done? Let’s find out.
The bad blood between the two was evident as neither fighter touched gloves ahead of the bout. As expected, Cory Sandhagen was the aggressor in the bout. However, what the fans did not expect, was the immediate takedown that followed from Cory. Both fighters were elite strikers and the fans thought the bout would be a strike-fest However, Sandhagen showed his experience and opted to grapple Chito, who was a ferocious counter-puncher.
Cory Sandhagen dominates Marlon Vera at UFC San Antonio
Round 1 ended with Sandhagen pummelling Vera with some vicious elbows. Round 2 started pretty much the same way, as Sandhagen disguised a takedown attempt behind some strikes. But, as Cory was finishing the takedown attempt, Vera locked in a guillotine choke. Although it seemed tight, Cory stayed calm and got out of it without much fuss. Sandhagen then spent the majority of the round on top of Marlon.
Although Vera got up with about 90 seconds left in the round, he could not do much damage. The Ecuadorean fighter understood that he needed to keep the bout on his feet and showed urgency at the beginning of Round 3. He used the jab more often and that helped him negate the threat of a takedown. But as it turned out, Sandhagen was much faster on the feet and used it to his advantage throughout the bout.
But the best thing bout the third round was the fact that Marlon Vera did not concede a takedown. But Cory aggressively looked for a takedown at the beginning of round 4. But, Chito showed great resiliency and stuffed the takedown attempts. While Chito had difficulty keeping track of Cory’s constant stance switches and movement, he had a much better round as the American fighter could not land a takedown.
But the bout went to the ground as soon as the final round started. While Chito attempted some up-kicks, Cory was just too elusive of a target for Vera to hit. Vera’s lack of activity in the Octagon definitely hurt him as the judges awarded the fight to Sandhagen. But it was a split decision as one judge gave the bout to Vera. For Sandhagen, the two judges had it 50-45 and 49-46 and one of the judges scored the bout 48-47 for Vera.
Fans are left in shock after Vera wins in one judge’s card
As per UFC stats, Cory landed 128 significant strikes and 187 strikes in total. On top of that, Sandhagen controlled the bout for 7:08 minutes on the ground with 3 takedowns. In stark contrast, Vera landed only 58 significant strikes and 73 strikes in total and had 9 seconds of ground control.
Cory out-worked Vera in every round, hence the scored card for Marlon is not sitting right with fans. Even Kamaru Usman and the bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling could not believe the score. One has to acknowledge that the 48-47 scorecard from judge Joel Ojeda was not an accurate representation of the contest.
Here are some reactions on the matter
48-47 Vera??? I love Chito as well but damn what was that judge watching smh 🤦🏿♂️ #UFCSanAntonio— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) March 26, 2023
The one judge that scored it 48-47 needs the sack asap https://t.co/AKA1tap2YU— Abdul Khaliq | Yousafzai (@Abdul_Khaliq10) March 26, 2023
Time to start banning these judges, fight wasn’t even close 😂 https://t.co/eMMEBdN5g1— David Campos (@dcampsss) March 26, 2023
Can literally anyone just become a judge? How the fuck was that a split decision, Cory dominated him. https://t.co/as78oItJwo— DeviantPigg (@DefectivePigg) March 26, 2023
UFC judges are so unbelievably retarded man, those scorecards are hilarious https://t.co/X227gSLaDE— Brother , (@xoogster) March 26, 2023
How do you score that one for chito😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 https://t.co/NfNKYb69rc— Gahlawat (@gahlawat23) March 26, 2023
I just want an explanation. This is happening way too often… pic.twitter.com/OgGdxYtzqx— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) March 26, 2023
With the impressive win, Cory Sandhagen improves his MMA record to 16-4. He displayed a great chin and employed the perfect game plan to nullify Vera’s fighting style. As the champ Aljamain Sterling looked on from the stands, Cory displayed his improved wrestling as well. With Aljo defending the belt against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, fans can expect to see Cory potentially challenging the winner.