UFC on ESPN+ 68: Sandhagen vs. Song Preview

Ranked bantamweight Song Yadong will experience his first-ever UFC main event on Saturday night. He’ll do so against a tough opponent, taking on former interim title challenger Cory Sandhagen.

The five-round fight is headlining a busy card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Here’s a full preview of the night.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (3:00PM EDT / 12:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 1: Nikolas Motta (12-4) vs. Cameron VanCamp (15-6-1) (Lightweight)

The evening is scheduled to begin with a lightweight fight between Nikolas Motta and Cameron VanCamp.

Both fighters will be fighting to bounce back from an unsuccessful promotional debut.

Motta lost his long-awaited UFC debut earlier this year, although it came against extremely experienced lightweight Jim Miller.

VanCamp was finished in the first round of his first UFC fight, getting stopped by Andre Fialho in May.

These lightweights were first paired up for a card more than a year ago, but are finally meeting this weekend.

Bout 2: Tony Gravely (23-7) vs. Javid Basharat (12-0) (Bantamweight)

In the first of three bantamweight bouts scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Tony Gravely and Javid Basharat will face off.

Basharat is appearing just days after his brother, Farid Basharat, earned a UFC contract on the live reality TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Basharat won his UFC debut in March, going the distance against Trevin Jones for a decision win. Before then, he had a flawless record of 11 wins, all of which came via stoppage.

A successful outing for Gravely this weekend would put him on a three-fight winning streak for the first time since he joined the UFC roster in early 2020. His last fight was a quick win, stopping Johnny Munoz Jr. in just over a minute with strikes in June.

Bout 3: Mariya Agapova (10-3) vs. Gillian Robertson (10-7) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Gillian Robertson and Mariya Agapova will face off in the next pairing.

Agapova currently holds a promotional record of two wins and two losses. She is coming off a grudge match defeat, suffering a submission loss to Maryna Moroz in March.

Robertson also suffered a loss in her last fight, dropping a unanimous decision to JJ Aldrich in March.

Robertson was originally booked to face Melissa Gatto on this card.

Bout 4: Trey Ogden (15-5) vs. Daniel Zellhuber (12-0) (Lightweight)

Undefeated Daniel Zellhuber will make his debut on Saturday night, facing Trey Ogden in a lightweight fight.

Zellhuber secured a UFC contract on last year’s season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” handing Lucas Almeida his first loss in a unanimous decision result. Most of his prior wins came on the regional scene in Mexico, along with many fights in Combate Global.

Ogden will be fighting to bounce back from an unsuccessful UFC debut. That defeat came in April, being on the losing end of a split decision to Jordan Leavitt.

Bout 5: Loma Lookboonmee (6-3) vs. Denise Gomes (6-1) (Strawweight)

Loma Lookboonmee will make her return to the cage on Saturday, facing short-notice UFC newcomer Denise Gomes.

Lookboonmee, a five-fight UFC vet, will be appearing for the first time in nearly a year. She had a two-fight winning streak broken in her last appearance, losing to Loopy Godinez in late 2021.

Gomes is stepping in to replace Diana Belbita. She secured her spot on the UFC roster just a few weeks ago on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” defeating Rayanne Amanda in a decision outcome.

Gomes had numerous regional wins before then, including a victory in Invicta FC.

Bout 6: Trevin Giles (14-4) vs. Louis Cosce (7-1) (Welterweight)

Both fighting to break recent skids, Trevin Giles and Louis Cosce will meet on Saturday night.

Giles has the goal of stopping himself from falling into a three-fight streak of losses. He has done that before, ending a two-fight losing streak in 2020 with a win against James Krause.

Giles has been finished in both of his recent outings, losing to Dricus Du Plessis and Michael Morales as of late.

Cosce is coming off a 22-month layoff from the cage. His last fight was an unsuccessful UFC debut, being on the losing end of a comeback finish from Sasha Palatnikov. Before that defeat, Cosce had a flawless record of seven wins, including a “Dana White’s Contender Series” performance.

Bout 7: Damon Jackson (21-4-1) vs. Pat Sabatini (17-3) (Featherweight)

The prelims are expected to wrap up with a featherweight bout between Damon Jackson and Pat Sabatini.

Both 145-pound talents have been on quite a roll recently.

Jackson has earned four wins through his five UFC appearances thus far. His last win came against short-notice opponent Dan Argueta, who he beat on scorecards in June.

Sabatini has yet to lose since joining the UFC roster last year. His fourth straight win came in April, when he overcame “Contender Series” alum TJ Laramie via decision.

Main Card (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 8: Anthony Hernandez (9-2) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (14-5) (Middleweight)

While Saturday sees the bantamweight division take the main focus, it’s also somewhat of a middleweight show: half of Saturday’s main card is scheduled to take place at the 185-pound weight class. The middleweight showcase will kick off with a fight between Anthony Hernandez and Marc-Andre Barriault.

Hernandez will be searching for his third consecutive win. The first victory of that streak came in early 2021, when he scored an upset win, handing Rodolfo Vieira his first pro loss via submission.

After being sidelined for more than a year, Hernandez returned in April to defeat Josh Fremd on scorecards.

Barriault suffered a loss early this year but has since bounced back by submitting Jordan Wright in the first round of a fight.

Bout 9: Tanner Boser (20-8-1) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1) (Heavyweight)

A pair of notable heavyweights will return on Saturday night’s main card. As part of the evening, Tanner Boser and Rodrigo Nascimento with both break their year-long absences from the cage in a matchup.

Boser snapped a two-fight losing streak in his last fight, stopping short-notice opponent Ovince St. Preux with strikes. That bout, which came over a year ago, broke a two-fight skid for him.

Boser has been booked for numerous fights in recent months, although they have all fallen through for various reasons. Among those bookings was a fight against Nascimento that was scheduled for April of this year.

Nascimento’s last bout came in July 2021. While the fight saw him stop Alan Baudot in the second round, a drug test registered by the Nevada Athletic Commission later overturned that result to a no contest. As it stands currently, Nascimento’s UFC record is just one win and one loss.

Bout 10: Alen Amedovski (8-3) vs. Joe Pyfer (9-2) (Middleweight)

The star of this year’s “Contender Series” season, Joe Pyfer, will make his debut on Saturday night against Alen Amedovski.

Pyfer quickly had a spotlight put on him on the season premiere of the “Contender Series” this year. After he scored the sole finish win on the card – a second-round victory over Ozzy Diaz – he became the only winner on the episode that was given a UFC contract. Not only that, but UFC President Dana White said “be Joe Pyfer,” a phrase that has since been repeated and will likely be reiterated before the fight on the broadcast this Saturday.

Pyfer enters the UFC with a pro record of nine wins and just two losses. He’s a flashy fighter, as most of his victories have come via finish since his 2018 debut. Before joining the “Contender Series,” his last fight on the regional scene was a stoppage win over Austin Trotman at CFFC 104.

Amedovski is likely in a must-win position this weekend if he hopes to keep his spot on the UFC roster. He has gone winless through three UFC appearances since 2019. His last fight was in May when Joseph Holmes submitted him in 64 seconds with a rear naked choke.

Amedovski missed weight for this fight on Friday, coming in just half a pound over the allotted limit.

Bout 11: Andre Fili (21-9) vs. Bill Algeo (16-6) (Featherweight)

Attempting to keep a strong 2022 going, Bill Algeo will face Andre Fili at featherweight.

Algeo has already picked up two wins this year, defeating Joanderson Brito and overwhelming Herbert Burns for a stoppage win.

Fili is arguably due for a win. His last three appearances have resulted in two losses and one no contest. His last fight was in April when Brito stopped him in 41 seconds with punches.

Bout 12: Chidi Njokuani (22-7) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (12-4) (Middleweight)

Veteran Chidi Njokuani will fight to keep his momentum going in Saturday night’s co-main event, facing former LFA champion Gregory Rodrigues at middleweight.

Njokuani joined the UFC roster last year through the “Contender Series.” However, with more than 25 fights already on his pro record, Njokuani was much more experienced than most names that you see competing on the show.

Njokuani has put together impressive performances since joining the UFC. His debut came in February when he stopped Marc-Andre Barriault in just 16 seconds. He then returned in May, stopping Dusko Todorovic in the first round of a fight that time.

Rodrigues has also succeeded in the UFC as of late, earning three wins through four appearances for the promotion. He bounced back from that sole defeat in his last bout, stopping Julian Marquez in the first round of a fight in June.

Bout 13: Cory Sandhagen (14-4) vs. Song Yadong (19-6-1) (Bantamweight)

Song Yadong will make his first UFC five-round appearance in the final bout of the evening, taking on Cory Sandhagen.

Sandhagen will be aiming to end a skid. While he has suffered two losses as of late, they have come against incredibly high-level names at 135-pounds.

Sandhagen’s last appearance was back in October 2021 at UFC 267. In that fight, he went five rounds against Petr Yan in an interim title fight. While Sandhagen lost a unanimous decision in the end, he remained in the fight and gave Yan a tough battle.

Before then, he lost against former champion TJ Dillashaw in July 2021. While Song is undoubtedly a respectable opponent, it would be a significant drop in the quality of opponents to lose to if Sandhagen comes up short this weekend.

Song’s main event opportunity wasn’t made overnight. He has been on the UFC roster since 2017 and has fought a total of 10 times since then. His record in the UFC has been quite strong, winning in eight of his appearances. This weekend specifically, Song enters on a three-fight winning streak.

Song’s last win was a big one, stopping Marlon Moraes in the first round of a bout with punches. Before then, he beat Julio Arce and Casey Kenney.

Saturday gives Song a chance to pick up the biggest win of his career. But if he can achieve that, it could possibly provide a rude awakening for Sandhagen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s