Cory Sandhagen and Holly Holm emphatically keep their names in the title picture

What were the most significant minutes from the initial UFC occasion in San Antonio given that 2019? Marc Raimondi and also Jeff Wagenheim provide their last ideas after the 10-fight card at the AT&T Facility.

It was fashionable a couple of years ago to call Cory Sandhagen a future UFC bantamweight champ. After back-to-back jaw-dropping kos of Marlon Moraes and also Frankie Edgar in 2020 and also 2021, it appeared like just an issue of time prior to Sandhagen appeared right into a title battle and also won that gold belt.

It has actually not been the very best stretch ever since for “The Sandman.” Yet those title talks are mosting likely to return after Saturday evening.

Sandhagen controlled the unbelievably video game Marlon “Chito” Vera for a split choice triumph generally occasion of UFC San Antonio. Do not allow the reality that a person court provided the round to Vera fool you. It was all Sandhagen from beginning to end. Sandhagen is significantly back in the title photo with 2 straight triumphes after going down 2 successive battles to previous champs TJ Dillashaw and also Petr Yan.

The factor is that Sandhagen and also his group at High Elevation Fighting Style in Colorado looked carefully at those losses and also made the essential modifications. The round versus Dillashaw was really close, and also lots of assumed Sandhagen ought to have won a split choice. Yet where he shed the battle, a minimum of in the eyes of 2 courts, was clear: Dillashaw had the ability to muscular tissue him in the clinch and also battling elements of mixed martial arts. Sandhagen did even more damages on the feet because round– he generally does as an elite demonstrator– however Dillashaw was extra sturdy. That evening, the courts obviously chosen that.

So, what did Sandhagen and also his instructors do? They increased his video game. We saw it versus Song Yadong last September, a fourth-round TKO win. Yet it was conveniently evident Saturday. It was presumed that Vera would definitely be the extra physical, more powerful boxer, while Sandhagen would certainly have the side in rate. That was not always the case.Sandhagen was much faster, no question. Yet he was additionally the assailant in clinch job and also fumbling.

Sandhagen had the ability to appear and also placed Vera on his back foot today, not simply with his showy striking and also angles. Yet with altering degrees, aiming for takedowns and also muscling Vera versus the cage. Sandhagen’s stress was a significant distinction in the battle. And also also if he really did not land those takedowns, Vera needed to watch out for them, which enabled Sandhagen to acquire even more openings on the feet. He never ever actually harm Vera however landed well with stabs, hooks, uppercuts and also kicks.

” Chito” really did not appear prepared for this variation of Sandhagen, that might have been classified a skill boxer previously in his occupation. He was not that on Saturday– which development has actually enabled him to climb this minefield of a department once more. At just three decades old, Sandhagen is just currently in his prime. Perhaps it’s time to revive that empty-Apex, pandemic-era discussion concerning “The Sandman” being champion product. — Raimondi

Entry of the evening: Daniel Pineda‘s guillotine on Tucker Lutz

Pineda returned to his winning methods with an unpleasant guillotine choke on Lutz. In the preliminary, Pineda made use of hostile reduced kicks to totter Lutz’s structure while warding off strikes from his challenger. Ultimately, Pineda pinned Lutz versus the fencing and also “The Pit” stumbled for the neck and also secured the guillotine for the entry win.

Pineda made his 3rd UFC win by entry, as he’s currently connected for second-most entry wins all-time at featherweight.

Holm’s display brand-new methods while still in quest of UFC gold

Also at 41 years of ages, Holly Holm feels she still has job to do. We discovered that held true contractually previously in the week when she re-signed with the UFC for 6 battles. Yet we discovered on Saturday that Holm’s remaining power is authentic.

She controlled Yana Santos for all 3 rounds, and also did so in a brand-new method. Best understood for her boxing expertise– she was a 2022 conscript right into the International Boxing Hall of Popularity– Holm racked up 4 takedowns, her most ever before in a three-round battle. She regulated her previous training companion on the canvas and also, prior to going for an uneven consentaneous choice (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), endangered to do with what would certainly have been the initial entry win in her 21-fight occupation.

Holm, a previous UFC bantamweight champ, claimed after the battle that she’s lingering to contend for a title. To do that, she will certainly need to stay healthy and balanced and also energetic. In current times, she’s contended concerning yearly. At that speed, her brand-new agreement would certainly take her to age 46. Just Randy Couture has actually won a belt after 45. To ensure that will not do.

If we’re ever before visiting a glossy belt twisted around Holm’s midsection once again, we’ll need to see her back inside the cage quickly. She does not have time to unwind and also await the best possibility. Holm requires to maintain relocating up, constructing towards a go back to the marvelous elevations she as soon as saw. — Wagenheim

Ko of the evening: CJ Vergara returns to complete Daniel Lacerda

It was virtually over for Vergara after the preliminary.

Lacerda appeared shooting versus his challenger, as he landed several strikes and also flurried repetitively versus Vergara with little feedback. The inquiry of whether the battle would certainly be quit remained in play, however Vergara took care of to make it through for rounded 2.

In the 2nd round, Vergara discovered his wits and also developed ground placement on Lacerda. Ultimately, Lacerda huddled as Vergara drizzled down ground and also extra pound strikes, requiring umpire Jason Herzog to quit the battle, providing the Laredo, Texas indigenous his 2nd win in the UFC.

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