The UFC has put together a doozie of a headliner for UFC Vegas 69 on February 18, 2023 in the form of top ranked bantamweights Marlon Vera vs. Cory Sandhagen.
“Chito” Vera is coming into this fight as the UFC’s #4 ranked 135-pounder, and Sandhagen is listed at #5, so consequences are extra high for this main event matchup. Obviously every fight is must-win, but the victor of this one will likely be within arm’s reach of a title shot.
This is much more true for Chito than it is for Cory. Marlon is riding a spectacular four-fight winning wave, including posterizing two legends of the sport in Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz with spectacular head kick knockouts. Sandhagen has only won once in his last three outings, even though many fans believe that he actually should have gotten the decision win over T.J. Dillashaw.
On top of that, Vera has yet to face the current champ, Aljamain Sterling, where as Sandhagen was technically submitted by Aljo in under 90-seconds. Oh, let’s not forget that Vera also has a win that aged quite well over the UFC’s #1 ranked bantamweight, Sean O’Malley.
Now all of that isn’t to say that Sandhagen couldn’t get a title shot off of an impressive performance at UFC Vegas 69, because he could — it’s just a much lower percentage for him versus Vera. Cory’s showing would have to be something that would qualify him to skip over the UFC’s #3 ranked, Merab Dvalishvili, the #2 ranked, Petr Yan (who he already lost to), of course the aforementioned O’Malley, and possibly even the wild card that is Henry Cejudo.
Either way, the stakes are damn high in this main event, and both Cory and Marlon are notorious scrappers that can violently end a fight at a moment’s notice. I don’t want to jinx it or anything, but it seems impossible for this fight to be boring.
Check out the rest of the UFC Vegas 69 lineup:
Marlon Vera vs. Cory Sandhagen: Bantamweight
Jim Miller vs. Gabriel Benitez: Lightweight
William Knight vs. Marcin Prachnio: Light Heavyweight
Taila Santos vs. Erin Blanchfield: (W) Flyweight
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Evan Elder: Lightweight
Joe Solecki vs. Benoit Saint-Denis: Lightweight
Juancamilo Ronderos vs. Clayton Carpenter: Flyweight
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Abus Magomedov: Middleweight
Lina Lansberg vs. Mayra Bueno Silva: (W) Bantamweight
Ovince St. Preux vs. Philipe Lins: Light Heavyweight