UFC on ESPN 27: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2021

UFC on ESPN 27: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Odds, Schedule, Predictions

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    The UFC will bring a great main event to Las Vegas on Saturday, with Cory Sandhagen meeting T.J. Dillashaw in a bantamweight title eliminator.

    The proliferation of UFC Fight Night events has led to some lackluster main events over the years, but this matchup of 135ers is one to get excited about.

    In one corner will be Sandhagen, a rising prospect who has looked like a future champion at times. In the other is a former champion looking to re-establish himself as a top dog in the division. It's likely the winner will get the next crack at champion Aljamain Sterling.

    The bantamweight division will also be on display in the co-main event as Kyler Phillips meets Raulian Paiva. Here's a look at the complete card with odds and a closer look at the featured fights on the card.

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—July 24

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    Main Card (ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET)

    • Cory Sandhagen (-200) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (+170)
    • Raulian Paiva (+230) vs. Kyler Phillips (-290)
    • Darren Elkins (+130) vs. Darrick Minner (-150)
    • Maycee Barber (+130) vs. Miranda Maverick (-150)
    • Randy Costa (+185) vs. Adrian Yanez (-225)

                        

    Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET)

    • Brendan Allen (+105) vs. Punahele Soriano (-125)
    • Ian Heinisch (-155) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (+135)
    • Mickey Gall (+150) vs. Jordan Williams (-170)
    • Julio Arce (-200) vs. Andre Ewell (+170)
    • Sijara Eubanks (-400) vs. Elise Reed (+300)
    • Diana Belbita (-115) vs. Hannah Goldy (-105)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw

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    It's been well over two years since we last saw T.J. Dillashaw in the Octagon during a failed bid to win the flyweight championship from Henry Cejudo.

    That wasn't part of a deep slide for the former champion, though. He tested positive for EPO before and after the fight, resulting in him having his bantamweight title stripped, but he had won four straight fights and captured the championship just before the loss and positive test.

    Now, at 35, he's a bit of a mystery. If he's been able to keep himself in something close to top form, he could be an interesting challenge for Sandhagen. If not, he could get exposed pretty quickly.

    At his best, Dillashaw is a strong wrestler whose quickness and level changes can keep opponents guessing and unsure. That will be a good test for Sandhagen. His most recent loss came to Sterling by first-round submission.

    The Sandman's length could pose a problem for Dillashaw. At 5'11", Sandhagen is five inches taller than his opponent Saturday, and he's good at using that to his advantage in striking.

    That should be enough to keep Dillashaw at bay unless he is in the championship form we saw from him nearly three years ago.

    Prediction: Sandhagen via decision.

Paiva vs. Phillips

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    Neither Raulian Paiva nor Kyler Phillips is a household name. But they are getting an opportunity to take a step.

    The two will get the opportunity to be the lead-in fight to a main event that should attract some eyes. It also happens to appear like a fan-friendly matchup on paper.

    Phillips has garnered some hype as a 26-year-old with a high-volume approach to striking and a legitimate ground game. He's put together a 3-0 start to his UFC career and earned some credibility with a win over Song Yadong in his most recent UFC appearance.

    Paiva is only 25 and has put together back-to-back wins after losing his first two UFC fights. He's a willing striker himself who is not the greatest defensive fighter. He's a slugger at heart and is willing to take a punch to give one.

    That sets up for a fun striking battle. However, it's also to Phillips' advantage. Pavia doesn't have much knockout power, with just one win by TKO in his career. The result is likely a slugfest in which Phillips outpaces Paiva in a Fight of the Night candidate.

    Prediction: Phillips via decision.

Barber vs. Maverick

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    On a card that is heavy on prospects, there might not be a more exciting prospect fight than Maycee Barber vs. Miranda Maverick. They are both under 25 and have already shown promise as future contenders.

    Barber is only 23, so there's plenty of time for her to develop. However, the pressure is starting to mount if she's going to be a factor in the division anytime soon. She's coming off back-to-back losses. On the other hand, Maverick is 2-0 in the UFC and had two wins at Invicta before coming over.

    It would be easy enough to say that momentum is on Maverick's side and call it a day. But Barber's losses can't be totally held against her, though. The first was arguably the result of the torn ACL she suffered in the fight.

    The second came against Alexa Grasso, who has contending aspirations.

    Maverick is an excellent jiu-jitsu practitioner. She will look to drag the fight to the mat, where she will hold a huge advantage. That being said, Barber's power shouldn't be overlooked in this spot.

    She could remind everyone what she's capable of when not injured or challenging a top fighter in the division.

    Prediction: Barber via second-round TKO.

                        

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