Cory Sandhagen and Holly Holm absolutely keep their names in the title photo

What were the greatest minutes from the very first UFC occasion in San Antonio considering that 2019? Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim provide their last ideas after the 10-fight card Saturday at the AT&T Center.

It was stylish a couple of years ago to call Cory Sandhagen a future UFC bantamweight champ. After back-to-back jaw-dropping knockouts of Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar in 2020 and 2021, it appeared like just a matter of time prior to Sandhagen broke through into a title battle and won that gold belt.

It has actually not been the very best stretch ever since for “The Sandman.” However those title talks are going to return after Saturday night.

Sandhagen controlled the extremely video game Marlon “Chito” Vera for a split choice success in the primary occasion of UFC San Antonio. Do not let the truth that a person judge offered the bout to Vera fool you. It was all Sandhagen from start to complete. Sandhagen is quite back in the title photo with 2 straight success after dropping 2 successive battles to previous champs TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan

The factor is that Sandhagen and his group at High Elevation Martial Arts in Colorado looked carefully at those losses and made the required changes. The bout versus Dillashaw was extremely close, and numerous believed Sandhagen must have won a split choice. However where he lost the battle, a minimum of in the eyes of 2 judges, was clear: Dillashaw had the ability to muscle him in the clinch and the fumbling elements of mixed martial arts. Sandhagen did more damage on the feet because bout– he typically does as an elite striker– however Dillashaw was more rugged. That night, the judges obviously chosen that.

So, what did Sandhagen and his coaches do? They broadened his video game. We saw it versus Tune Yadong in September, a fourth-round TKO win. However it was easily obvious Saturday. It was presumed that Vera would definitely be the more physical, more powerful fighter, while Sandhagen would have the edge in speed. That was not always the case. Sandhagen was much faster, no doubt. However he was likewise the assailant in clinch work and fumbling.

Sandhagen had the ability to come out and put Vera on his back foot right now– not simply with his fancy striking and angles, however with altering levels, striving takedowns and muscling Vera versus the cage. Sandhagen’s pressure was a significant distinction in the battle. And even if he didn’t land those takedowns, Vera needed to watch out for them, which enabled Sandhagen to acquire more openings on the feet. He never ever actually harm Vera however landed well with jabs, hooks, uppercuts and kicks.

” Chito” didn’t appear all set for this variation of Sandhagen, who might have been identified a skill fighter previously in his profession. He was not that on Saturday– which advancement has actually enabled him to climb this minefield of a department when again. At just thirty years old, Sandhagen is just now in his prime. Perhaps it’s time to revive that empty-Apex, pandemic-era discussion about “The Sandman” being champion product. — Raimondi

Submission of the night: Daniel Pineda‘s guillotine on Tucker Lutz

Pineda returned to his winning methods with a nasty guillotine choke on Lutz. In the preliminary, Pineda utilized aggressive low kicks to wobble Lutz’s structure while warding off strikes from his challenger. Ultimately, Pineda pinned Lutz versus the fence, and “The Pit” stumbled for the neck and secured the guillotine for the submission win.

Pineda made his 3rd UFC win by submission, as he’s now connected for second-most submission wins perpetuity at featherweight.

Holm displays brand-new techniques while still in pursuit of UFC gold

Even at 41 years of ages, Holly Holm states she still has work to do. We found out that held true contractually previously in the week when she re-signed with the UFC for 6 battles. However we found out on Saturday that Holm’s remaining power is authentic.

She controlled Yana Santos for all 3 rounds, and did so in a brand-new method. Best understood for her boxing expertise– she was a 2022 conscript into the International Boxing Hall of Popularity– Holm scored 4 takedowns, her most ever in a three-round battle. She managed her previous training partner on the canvas and, prior to opting for an uneven consentaneous choice (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), threatened to complete with what would have been the very first submission win in her 21-fight profession.

Holm, a previous UFC bantamweight champ, stated after the battle that she’s staying to contend for a title. To do that, she will need to stay healthy and active. In current times, she’s completed about when a year. At that speed, her brand-new agreement would take her to age 46. Just Randy Couture has actually won a belt after 45. So that will not do.

If we’re ever visiting a glossy belt twisted around Holm’s waist once again, we’ll need to see her back inside the cage quickly. She does not have time to kick back and await the best chance. Holm requires to keep moving up, developing towards a go back to the marvelous heights she when saw. — Wagenheim

Knockout of the night: CJ Vergara returns to complete Daniel Lacerda

It was nearly over for Vergara after the preliminary.

Lacerda came out shooting versus his challenger, as he landed numerous strikes and flurried consistently versus Vergara with little reaction. The concern of whether the battle would be stopped remained in play, however Vergara handled to make it through for Round 2.

In the 2nd round, Vergara discovered his wits and developed ground position on Lacerda. Ultimately, Lacerda snuggled as Vergara drizzled down ground-and-pound strikes, requiring referee Jason Herzog to stop the battle, offering the Laredo, Texas, native his 2nd win in the UFC.

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