UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Preview

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon this weekend when he takes on Cory Sandhagen. Dillashaw has been suspended for the last two years after testing positive for EPO, and he is out to prove he still has what it takes to be a champion in the UFC. As for Sandhagen, he knows that a win here could lead to his first title shot.

This promotion will be held at the UFC Apex training center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will take place on Saturday, July 24, 2021, and the main card will start at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Betting Odds

Cory Sandhagen -200

T.J. Dillashaw +170

We saw T.J. Dillashaw first claim the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 173 seven years ago. He defeated Renan Barao by fifth round TKO and won Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses in the process. Dillashaw successfully defended the belt twice until losing a split decision to Dominick Cruz, but he won the title back at UFC 217 in November 2017.

Dillashaw knocked out Cody Garbrandt in the second round in that fight, and he won the rematch at UFC 227 in August 2018. That led to him deciding to move up to flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo, but he was no match and was knocked out in 32 seconds. After the fight, Dillashaw tested positive for EPO in both of his samples, so he hasn’t fought in 30 months ahead of this bout.

That has led to Sandhagen being a sizable favorite per the UFC betting odds. Sandhagen has taken part in five fights since the last time Dillashaw was in the Octagon, and his only loss came to current champion Aljamain Sterling. He was very impressive against Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar in the last nine months, but there will likely be action on Dillashaw closer to the event.

Kyler Phillips -280

Raulian Paiva +240

There’s a decent amount of buzz surrounding Kyler Phillips. Since joining the UFC, he has won all three of his fights in the bantamweight division. Phillips earned Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonuses in his first two bouts, and he looked sharp in a unanimous decision win over Song Yadong four months ago.

Raulian Paiva lost his first two bouts in the UFC. Paiva seemed like he wouldn’t be long for the promotion, but he responded with victories over Mark De La Rosa and Zhalgas Zhumagulov in 2020. This will be a tough test for him though, and there’s a reason he’s a sizable underdog.  

Darren Elkins +133

Darrick Minner -153

It’s been a rough last few years for Darren Elkins. He lost four straight fights before breaking his losing streak against Luiz Eduardo Garagorri last November. Elkins is now 25-9 in his career, and there are real questions about his finishing power with just one knockout in the last eight years.

Submission specialist Darrick Minner is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC. We’ve seen 30 of his 37 fights decided by submission, so there’s a very good chance one of these two featherweights will be tapping out on Saturday night.

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