Sterling-Sandhagen Bantamweight Bout Reportedly In The Works
Another pivotal bout in the UFC’s bantamweight division appears to be set. According to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Aljamain Sterling will face off against Cory Sandhagen. The bout will take place at UFC San Diego on May 16.
All of this is depending on the situation regarding the coronavirus. As of now, all major events with 10+ people will not be happening in the United States. The UFC is playing the situation by ear, as they have already had to cancel three events so far.
Ranked second in the UFC’s bantamweight division, Sterling (18-3) has been waiting for a moment like this for a while. “Funk Master” is on a four-fight win streak and is 6-1 in his last seven fights. His last bout was a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 238 in June. Since then, Sterling has been recovering from wrist surgery.
Sterling has been hoping to get a crack at the UFC Bantamweight Title, currently held by Henry Cejudo. Unfortunately for him, Cejudo will be facing Jose Aldo at UFC 250 for the title, forcing Sterling to wait.
Sandhagen (12-1) is on a seven-fight win streak and is 5-0 in the UFC. “The Sandman” fought three times in 2019, his last bout a unanimous decision win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 241 in August. Ranked fourth in the bantamweight division, Sandhagen was hoping to face Dominick Cruz, but plans fell through.
“I heard that Cruz was looking for a fight and I thought perfect, I wanted to get something in May at the latest,” Sandhagen told TSN. “I think the UFC was on board with doing that fight and then, from what I understand, Cruz asked to also be on that San Diego card and then changed his mind and didn’t want to fight on the card. You can interpret that however you want, but that’s the information that I got.”
This fight is part of the bantamweight gauntlet the UFC is putting on. It was recently announced that Petr Yan will face off against Marlon Moraes at UFC Kazakhstan on June 13. Whoever wins these two bouts could end up facing one another to determine the next big contender at bantamweight.
The proposed main event for UFC San Diego, taking place inside the Pechanga Arena, is Dustin Poirier v. Dan Hooker.