While UFC Fight Night headliner Cory Sandhagen is coming off a loss in his most recent outing, it only feels like Marlon Moraes is in the same boat. Sandhagen and Moraes will meet in the bantamweight main event from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi this weekend.Watch Live Free

Moraes beat Jose Aldo in his most recent fight, a December 2019 split decision victory. But it’s easy to forget Moraes won that fight since it was Aldo who was elevated to a title shot, eventually losing to Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight championship. Moraes, meanwhile, has been sitting on the sidelines as something of a 135-pound afterthought despite a 5-2 record in the UFC, one of those losses coming two fights ago in a spirited effort against then-champ Henry Cejudo.

Sandhagen was carving his own path toward a bantamweight title shot with a seven-fight winning streak. However, his most recent outing ended quickly as Aljamain Sterling needed just under 90 seconds to score a rear-naked choke submission in June. The bout with Sterling was seen by many as a No. 1 contender’s spot, though things haven’t yet played out that way for Sterling. Still, for 28-year-old Sandhagen, a second consecutive loss could be devastating to his chances to work back toward a shot at the belt and he’ll need to beat one of the division’s best to get back on track.

Here’s the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

FavoriteUnderdogWeightclass
Cory Sandhagen -140Marlon Moraes +120Bantamweight
Edson Barboza -270Makwan Amirkhani +220Featherweight
Ben Rothwell -155Marcin Tybura +130Heavyweight
Dricus du Plessis -165Markus Perez +140Middleweight
Tom Aspinall -550Alan Baudot +400Middleweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: Oct. 10 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Flash Forum — Abu Dhabi
Stream: ESPN+

Prediction

Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen: There are a lot of questions coming into this fight, many of them revolving around Sandhagen. His last outing was, to put it mildly, a disaster. Can he mentally come back from that kind of low point against an experienced, tough veteran opponent? Sandhagen has all the physical tools to be a great at 135 and he’ll again have a height and reach advantage. Sandhagen is a pressure and volume fighter, but Moraes often thrives when given the ability to counter that exact style. Moraes’ ability to throw a steady stream of heavy leg kicks should not be overlooked against Sandhagen as a tool that could pay off big in a five-round main event fight. This is a tough fight to call, but Sandhagen’s pressure and volume could carry the day for him. Pick: Cory Sandhagen via UD

Marlon Moraes (+100) vs. Cory Sandhagen

This line is baffling to me, and I’m going to jump all over this tremendous opportunity.

Moraes opened as a -135 favorite but the line has flipped with the public apparently liking Sandhagen in this spot. There’s no doubt this is a competitive fight – it’s not impossible for Sandhagen to win – but Moraes should absolutely be the favorite. So, there’s a ton of value on him at plus money.

The former UFC title challenger has beaten the who’s who of the 135-pound division, from Aljamain Sterling and Raphael Assuncao to Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson. It’s not just who Moraes beats, it’s how he beats them. Of those four victories, only one went the distance. “Magic” knocked out Sterling and Rivera in brutal fashion and submitted Assuncao.

Moraes is typically a stand-up fighter. The Brazilian has massive power for the bantamweight class but he’s also very technical, which makes for a deadly combination. Though we don’t always see it, Moraes also has a slick jiu-jitsu game. His ability to thrive in every facet of mixed martial arts has allowed him to become the No. 1 bantamweight in the UFC.

Sandhagen is a unique challenge for many fighters; he’s lanky and has an awkward style, similar to former champion Dominick Cruz. But he showed in his last fight against Sterling – which he lost via first-round submission – that he’s beatable despite his early success in the Octagon.

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