UFC Fight Night 43 Preview: Sandhagen vs Vera

Top 5 ranked Bantamweight contenders Marlon “Chito” Vera and Cory Sandhagen meet this Saturday on ESPN from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo Credit: Sportskeeda.com.UFC.com

UFC Fight Night 43 will feature an all-action main event between devastating finishers Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen. Vera is on a four-fight win streak with impressive knockout victories over former UFC Champions Frankie Edgar and Dominick Cruz during that stretch. Sandhagen stopped rising prospect Song Yadong in September by TKO and is a dynamic and creative kickboxer. In the Co-Main event, former UFC Champion Holly Holm makes her return to the octagon after losing a hard-fought split decision to Ketlen Vieira last year. Holm will face Russia’s Yana Santos who has gone (3-2) in her last five fights. Also on the Main Card, entertaining Flyweight contenders clash as Alex Perez and Manel Kape will look to move one step closer to title contention.

#3 Marlon Vera (20-7-1) vs #5 Cory Sandhagen (15-4)

Fight Night Main Events don’t get much better than this. Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen are two of the best 135-pound fighters in the world. Vera (8 Ko, 8 Sub) is extremely well-rounded and can end fights both standing and on the ground. As a twenty-fight veteran of the promotion, Vera has beaten top-flight talent like Sean O’Malley, Davey Grant, and Rob Font. Sandhagen is a former UFC title challenger, who has finishes in six of his eight UFC victories. Sandhagen is a very coordinated and flexible athlete who can pull off unbelievable strikes like his spinning heel kick knockout of Marlon Moraes, or his flying knee knockout of Frankie Edgar.

On the feet, both fighters are evenly matched. Vera possesses some of the best cardio in the UFC and utilizes damaging leg kicks to take away the mobility of his opponent. Sandhagen is extremely creative with his attacks and will be the taller fighter by three inches. If the fight goes to the ground, Vera will hold an advantage as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt. In Sandhagen’s fight with Champion Aljamain Sterling, he was easily taken down and submitted within two minutes.

Vera may be able to catch Sandhagen in a submission if the opportunity presents itself which is why some experts are going with him in this fight. Vera is currently a (+145) underdog at online sportsbooks and should receive a title shot if victorious this weekend. This is going to be a highly competitive contest that will more than likely go the distance.

#3 Holly Holm (14-6) vs #6 Yana Santos (14-6)

In the Co-Main event, Women’s MMA pioneer and former Bantamweight champion Holy Holm will make her return after a near-year layoff from the sport. Holm is also an accomplished boxer who is a former 19-time world champion and a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Holm is the only fighter in combat sports history to be a world champion in both boxing and the UFC. While Holm has had a celebrated career and rose to stardom after her head-kick knockout of Ronda Rousey, she enters this fight 3-3 in her last six fights and is 41 years old.

Yana Santos formerly known as Yana Kunitskaya got married to ranked UFC contender Thiago Santos recently and has won two of her last three fights. Santos is a seven-fight veteran of the UFC and holds wins over contenders Lina Lansberg, Marion Reneau, and Ketlen Vieira. Santos is physically strong for the weight class and may look to take Holm to the ground.

#6 Alex Perez (24-7) vs #9 Manel Kape (18-6)

Also on the main card exciting flyweight prospect and former Rizin Champion Manel Kape looks to continue his rise up the UFC rankings when he faces well-rounded veteran Alex Perez. Kape is a dynamic striker who has many flashy knockouts on his resume. After a slow start to his UFC career, Kape has now won three in a row. Perez is a well-rounded veteran who has only lost top-level competition at 125 pounds. Perez holds stoppage wins over former title challenger Jussier Formiga and Jordan Espinosa.

Kape will want to keep this fight on standing where he will have a significant speed advantage. Perez may try to strike with Kape long enough to set up takedown attempts. Perez has power in his hands and will be the stronger fighter physically. This is an excellent matchup to see what Kape’s potential looks like. After being signed from the Japanese promotion Rizin where he was a Bantamweight champion, Kape entered the UFC with a great deal of hype as a 125-pound prospect. Kape holds victories over world-class competition and enters this contest as a (-180) favorite at online sportsbooks.

UFC Fight Night 43 Prelims:

The UFC Fight Night 43 prelims contain many potentially exciting matchups. In the first fight of the prelims, two Dana White contenders series alumni face off at 125 pounds. Victor Altamirano ( 11-2) is coming off a first-round knockout over Daniel De Silva and has shown improvements with every performance. His opponent Vinicius Salvador (14-4) is a dangerous Brazilian striker who has knockout wins in his last four fights. According to oddsmakers, this is an extremely close fight trending as a pick em (-115) at online sportsbooks.

Also, one the UFC Fight NIGHT 43 prelims, Fan favorite Nate “The Train” Landwehr (16-4) returns after earning fight of the night last August. Landwehr will be facing Fortis MMA product Austin Lingo (9-1). Lingo trains at a very accomplished gym and has won back-to-back fights by decision. Landwehr has power in his hands and is one of the most durable fighters on the roster. The UFC Fight Night 43 prelims will begin at 3:30 p.m. CST. The Main Card will start at 6 p.m. CST. Both can be seen on ESPN+.

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