Michael Bisping would have liked to see his friend and former teammate Marlon “Chito” Vera start on a quicker foot against Cory Sandhagen.
The UFC bantamweight division continued to steal the spotlight this past Saturday night. Headlining the promotion’s return to San Antonio, Texas, Vera and Sandhagen jockeyed for supremacy, hoping to climb the title contention ladder.
Unfortunately for Ecuador’s Vera, his entertaining four-fight winning streak came to a screeching halt thanks to Sandhagen’s aggressively versatile and tricky assault. On the call for the bout, the aforementioned Bisping couldn’t help but feel Vera should have applied his patented in-your-face pressure earlier than he did.
“Marlon Vera took his time just like always,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “He is a slow starter by nature and that really cost him tonight. Listen, I’m not taking away from Sandhagen. Sandhagen was sensational. Certainly at the start.
“He forced the takedowns at the beginning. Always got a smart game plan. He’s a very sophisticated fighter, sophisticated striker. Did fantastic work, put it on ‘Chito’ right from the beginning. [Coach Jason] Parillo was imploring Marlon, ‘Come on, you can’t go two rounds down.’ Then he played catch up.”
There was still hope for Vera heading into round three, but the fight was slipping through his fingers with each moment in favor of Sandhagen. Success was easier found for “Chito” once he managed to find moments to corner his foe. The movement of Sandhagen was ultimately too diverse for Vera, preventing him from being cut off and struck for significant portions of time.
Perhaps most notably known for his quirky and unorthodox striking approach, Sandhagen brilliantly mixed in his takedowns to disrupt Vera early and often. Despite Sandhagen’s flawless start to the fight, and his continued chipping away at Vera, he still saw himself losing the fight on one of the three judges’ scorecards as Joel Ojeda awarded Vera with 10-9 scores for the final three frames. Had Vera gotten off to an ever so slightly hotter start, things could have been pretty interesting come Bruce Buffer’s announcement of the winner.
“The first two rounds, Sandhagen got really far ahead,” Bisping said. “I think he was something like 120 strikes to 30 or something like that, and that’s what cost him the fight. Marlon just took his time. Parillo was like, ‘What is wrong with you? Is everything okay? Is there an issue? Something I need to know about?’ Marlon afterward said he was very flat.
“In the third round, he came alive. Certainly started to put more pressure on, started to land some shots, and I love ‘Chito.’ He’s a good friend of mine, but he actually started to fight. Didn’t fight in rounds one and two. Round four did better, round five did better. It was too little too late. Sandhagen, you can’t do that [with]. You can’t allow someone like that to get that kind of advantage. He moves so well, he overloads you with information. He’s constantly switching stances, throwing varied attacks.”
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Call to action.
Kick him out from the rankings! https://t.co/LXuAypLSca— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) March 26, 2023
With these judges losing their dam minds. I’m coming prepared for May 6th. #andnew pic.twitter.com/f0hBHN2V3f— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) March 27, 2023
Yan it’s about time..— C H T O V E R A (@chitoveraUFC) March 27, 2023
Hailey Cowan (7-2) vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth (5-0); UFC Vegas 72, April 29
Joseph Holmes (8-3) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (10-3); UFC 288, May 6
David Onama (10-2) vs. Khusein Askhabov (23-1); UFC Fight Night, June 3
Jimmy Flick (16-6) vs. Alessandro Costa (12-3); UFC Fight Night, June 17
Sandhagen is something else. If he keeps improving, and mixing things up the way he did against Vera, not at all wild to imagine him with a title before he’s all done.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 71% of 593 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Did Covington’s Anik comments cross a line?”
Thursday: 58% of 793 total votes answered “Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Cory Sandhagen defeated Vera via a split decision in the main event of UFC San Antonio.
Wednesday: 50% of 897 total votes answered “Justin Gaethje” when asked, “Who should Dustin Poirier face next?”
Monday: 47% of 886 total votes answered “Belal Muhammad” when asked, “Who is most deserving of the next UFC welterweight title shot?”
Today’s exit poll:
Who should Sandhagen fight next?
This poll is closed
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo winner
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo loser
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