UFC on ESPN 27: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Live Coverage

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw will make his return to the cage on Saturday night. His return to the action comes against a tough challenge, as he will face rising contender Cory Sandhagen in what could be a five round fight. The bout headlines a UFC “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Follow along throughout the evening for live updates on the event.

A full preview of the card can be read here.

Quick Results:

Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Diana Belbita def. Hannah Goldy via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Sijara Eubanks def. Elise Reed via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:49)

Bout 3: Julio Arce def. Andre Ewell via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:45)

Bout 4: Mickey Gall def. Jordan Williams via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 2:57)

Bout 5: Nassourdine Imavov def. Ian Heinisch via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:09)

Bout 6: Brendan Allen def. Punahele Soriano via Decision, Unanimous

Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 7: Adrian Yanez def. Randy Costa via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:11)

Bout 8: Maycee Barber def. Miranda Maverick via Decision, Split

Bout 9: Darren Elkins def. Darrick Minner via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:48)

Bout 10: Raulian Paiva def. Kyler Phillips via Decision, Majority

Bout 11: TJ Dillashaw def. Cory Sandhagen via Decision, Split

Live Coverage:

Bout 11: Cory Sandhagen (14-2) vs. TJ Dillashaw (16-4) (Bantamweight)

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dillashaw Takes Close Win Over Sandhagen In Return

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw scored a close win in his return to the octagon, taking a split decision victory over Cory Sandhagen after five rounds of battle (48-47 Sandhagen, 48-47 Dillashaw & 48-47 Dillashaw).

The back-and-forth fight saw Dillashaw have a slow start, suffering a deep cut on his right eyebrow and an injury to his right knee in the couple of opening rounds in the fight.

Sandhagen had some hectic moments in the first round. He tried an inverted triangle choke after connecting with a flying knee to the head of Dillashaw in the second minute of the fight. Dillashaw was able to escape the position and return to the feet.

Dillashaw finished the first round strong, landing a series of punches on the ground while tied up in a leg position with Sandhagen.

There was focus on Dillashaw’s left leg once he left the position on the ground in the opening frame, as some thought damage might have been done to it. The UFC broadcast noted that he limped away from the position and had it iced in-between rounds.

Sandhagen’s striking allowed him to hurt Dillashaw in the second round. Concern started to show in the second round about a cut around the right eye of Dillashaw. The referee paused the fight for a moment during the round so a doctor could check out the cut.

Dillashaw started to pick up his work rate in the third round, putting together more strikes and controlling Sandhagen with clinch and body lock positions. He started to land numerous kicks to the lead leg of Sandhagen that went unchecked.

While Dillashaw would clinch with Sandhagen, he rarely was able to get him to the ground from these positions. Also, his striking didn’t connect to the head of Sandhagen often and didn’t do any visible damage by the end.

The aggression of Dillashaw kicked up a notch in the fourth round, as he continued to come forward with clinches and strikes. That’s not to say he might have won the round, as Sandhagen was able to answer back while moving backward, scoring with jabs and crosses.

Dillashaw continued to walk Sandhagen down in the final round the same way that he did in the two rounds before.

Dillashaw, a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion, was making his return after serving a two-year U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspension. He was handed the suspension in early 2019, ending what was his second run as UFC’s 135-pound champion at the time.

Dillashaw mentioned afterward that he wants a title shot next. However, he also said he is willing to fight another high-ranked bantamweight if not able to get a title fight soon.

Dillashaw had a tough opponent in his return, as he faced one of the highest ranked bantamweights in the division. Sandhagen entered Saturday night following two big finish victories recently, having stopped Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar in recent fights.

While Sandhagen had participated in a five-round UFC fight before, his fight on Saturday was the first time he fought past three rounds.

Bout 10: Kyler Phillips (9-1) vs. Raulian Paiva (20-3) (Bantamweight)

Paiva Defeats Phillips In Move Up To Bantamweight

Raulian Paiva moved his win streak to three consecutive in the co-main event, defeating Kyler Phillips via majority decision (29-28, 29-28 & 28-28).

The fight saw Phillips start hot with Paiva evading a near stoppage and finishing as the much fresher fighter.

Phillips succeeded in a hectic opening round against Paiva. His performance culminated in the final minute of the frame, where he hurt Paiva with an elbow then followed-up with numerous shots on the ground, in a sequence that nearly sounded the end to the fight. He out-landed Paiva throughout the round, something he wasn’t able to do in the following rounds.

Paiva had more success in the second and third round, landing punches on the feet and keeping Phillips on his back for minutes at a time on the ground.

Phillips entered the fight on a three-fight winning streak that is now no more. His fight on Saturday was the first time he lost since joining the UFC in 2019.

Paiva’s two previous fights in his ongoing win streak were down at flyweight. He had taken the fight to replace Raphael Assuncao, who withdrew from his booking.

Bout 9: Darren Elkins (25-9) vs. Darrick Minner (26-11) (Featherweight)

Elkins Stops Minner With Ground and Pound

After being dominated in the first round, Darren Elkins was able to turn his fight around against Darrick Minner and finish him in the second round with ground and pound strikes.

Elkins took over halfway through the fight, taking top control on the ground and landing a series of short punches to the head of Minner. After landing a long series of shots that went unanswered, the referee stopped the fight and gave Elkins the win.

Minner’s wrestling skills allowed him to snag the opening round, putting Elkins on his back and hurting him with strikes for the first five minutes.

Elkins snapped a four-fight losing streak in his previous appearance, submitting Eduardo Garagorri.

Minner had a two-fight winning streak snapped with Saturday’s fight.

Bout 8: Maycee Barber (8-2) vs. Miranda Maverick (9-2) (Flyweight)

Barber Ends Losing Streak With Controversial Win Against Maverick

Maycee Barber snapped a two-fight losing streak on the main card, defeating Miranda Maverick via split decision (29-28 Barber, 29-28 Maverick & 29-28 Barber).

The decision caused divided opinions in the venue and online. Former fighter and UFC commentator Daniel Cormier mentioned on the broadcast that he disagreed with the booking.

Maverick out-landed Barber throughout the fight, although Barber trailed behind and kept the fight close.

All 21 media members scoring the fight for MMADecisions.com scored the fight 29 to 28 for Maverick.

Barber is now back to her winning ways for the first time in over a year. She has lost her past two pro fights, with her most recent win dating all the way back to 2019.

The bout on Saturday was Maverick’s first loss since joining the UFC. The Invicta FC vet has earned two wins in her rookie year in the promotion so far.

Bout 7: Adrian Yanez (13-3) vs. Randy Costa (6-1) (Bantamweight)

Yanez Makes Second-Round Comeback Against Costa To Continue Win Streak

Adrian Yanez made a comeback against Randy Costa to finish him in the second round and continue his undefeated UFC run through three fights.

Returning from a rough opening round, Yanez took over control in the second round and closed in on a win.

After landing two shots to the body Costa, who was backed up against the cage, Yanez landed an uppercut that dropped him. The fight was stopped shortly after Yanez scored a few more punches on the ground.

Costa had the better first round, using his reach advantage to keep a distance from Yanez but constantly connect with his lead jab.

Yanez scored finish victories in his two prior UFC appearances, defeating Victor Rodriguez and Gustavo Lopez earlier in his rookie year in the promotion.

Costa was given the matchup after earning a 41-second stoppage win over Journey Newson last year. He now has a promotional record of two wins and two losses.

Bout 6: Punahele Soriano (8-0) vs. Brendan Allen (16-4) (Middleweight)

Allen Gets Decision Win, Hands Soriano First Pro Loss

Brendan Allen handed Punahele Soriano his first pro loss on Saturday, defeating him via unanimous decision after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28). Allen was given the scorecard nod after a three-round striking battle.

Soriano started the fight hot, showing power with his punches in the opening round. His explosiveness started to wane in the second round along with his volume of strike output as cardio increasingly became an issue for him.

Allen was able to work a steady pace later in the fight as Soriano slowed down. Soriano still had good moments on the feet, getting through with shots through all three rounds

Allen has now scored five wins through six fights in the UFC. He earned a quick submission win just months ago, stopping Karl Roberson in April.

Soriano’s eight previous pro fights included two first-round finish wins in the UFC.

Bout 5: Ian Heinisch (14-4) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (9-3) (Middleweight)

Imavov Bounces Back From Sole UFC Loss

Nassourdine Imavov continued his climb up the middleweight division with a stoppage win over Ian Heinisch on Saturday’s prelims. Imavov finished the fight in the second round with a slick combination of strikes.

After hurting Heinisch with a series of punches, Imavov scored with a knee that seated Heinisch down. Imavov continued to land punches on the ground until the referee finished the fight.

Imavov was active earlier in the fight, having a higher output of strikes than Heinisch.

Imavov bounced back from his sole UFC loss with his win on Saturday. He lost earlier this year when facing Phillip Hawes.

Imavov’s promotional record is now two wins and one loss.

Heinisch has lost four of his last five in the UFC octagon. His previous opponent was former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum, who defeated him via unanimous decision.

Bout 4: Mickey Gall (6-3) vs. Jordan Williams (9-4) (Welterweight)

Gall Showcases Skills In Quick Win Over Williams

Mickey Gall showed dominance all-around on his prelim fight, hurting Jordan Williams and eventually submitting him halfway through the opening round. Returning after the longest layoff of his pro career, Gall locked in a rear naked choke for the tap from Williams.

Gall was able to do damage to Williams earlier in the round with striking.

Gall dropped Williams in the opening minute with a right hook from a clinch position. He tried to follow-up the knockdown with a submission on the ground, although Williams was able to return to the feet.

Gall was returning for the first time since he lost a decision to Mike Perry last year.

Williams is now on a two-fight losing streak since joining the UFC roster. His debut fight last year was at middleweight, where he lost to Nassourdine Imavov.

Bout 3: Julio Arce (16-4) vs. Andre Ewell (17-7) (Bantamweight)

Arce Defeats Ewell In Drop To Bantamweight

Julio Arce’s sharp strikes allowed him to stop Andre Ewell in the second round of their fight. Constantly landing with his left cross and visibly hurting Ewell, the referee made the move to end the fight near the end of the second frame.

Arce backed Ewell up in the second round with a series of left hands that hurt him. After scoring a series of punches, the fight finished on the feet.

Ewell had been hurt in the previous round by a left hand from Arce as well.

Arce was successful in his move down to bantamweight after previously fighting at 145-pounds. He had last fought over a year ago, where he lost a split decision to Hakeem Dawodu.

Ewell lost via decision in his previous fight to Chris Gutierrez.

Bout 2: Sijara Eubanks (6-6) vs. Elise Reed (4-0) (Flyweight)

Eubanks Stops UFC Newcomer Reed Within A Round

Sijara Eubanks had a dominant win over undefeated flyweight Elise Reed on Saturday, stopping her in just under a round with strikes.

The referee stopped the fight in the final minute of the first round after Eubanks landed numerous ground and pound strikes from full mount. Eubanks was successful throughout the opening round, scoring a takedown early and controlling Reed.

Reed, a former CFFC Strawweight Champion, was stepping in on short notice to replace Priscila Cachoeira. She was moving up a weight class for the fight after competing four times at strawweight.

On the other hand, Eubanks was moving down from bantamweight for the bout. The win on Saturday snapped a two-fight losing streak for her.

Eubanks mentioned afterward that she wants to face a ranked flyweight in her next appearance.

Bout 1: Diana Belbita (13-6) vs. Hannah Goldy (5-1) (Strawweight)

Belbita Punches Her Way To First UFC Win

Diana Belbita earned her first UFC win on Saturday with her striking skills, defeating Hannah Goldy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

Belbita hurt Goldy with punches numerous times during their fight. Her best moment was in the opening frame, where she landed a right hook that knocked Goldy down. She continued after with a flurry of strikes on the feet, although Goldy stopped her momentum with a takedown.

Belbita stunned Goldy again halfway through the final round, hurting her right a right cross then scoring numerous follow-up shots on the feet.

Goldy had some strong moments in the fight as well, being able to land shots on the feet throughout. She had a strong finish to the third round, taking Belbita down and unloading with elbows from full mount.

Belbita snapped a two-fight losing streak with the performance. She had previously faced Liana Jojua and Molly McCann.

Goldy’s previous appearance was her UFC debut, which she lost against Miranda Granger.

Both fighters usually compete at flyweight but moved down to strawweight for Saturday.

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