Cory Sandhagen will confront T.J. Dillashaw in the UFC on ESPN 27 main event this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and their five-round encounter could have far-reaching implications for the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division.
Sandhagen has rattled off nine wins over his last 10 outings and enters the cage on the strength of back-to-back highlight-reel knockouts. He last competed at UFC Fight Night 184, where he cut down former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar with a spectacular flying knee in just 28 seconds. Dillashaw, meanwhile, has not fought in more than two years, his absence owing to a United States Anti-Doping Agency suspension. He last appeared at UFC Fight Night 143 on Jan. 19, 2019, when he succumbed to first-round punches from Henry Cejudo in a failed bid to capture the undisputed flyweight crown.
As Sandhagen and Dillashaw make their final preparations, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
29: Years of age for Sandhagen, who was born in Aurora, Colorado, on April 20, 1992. “Basic Instinct,” “Beethoven,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Sleepwalkers” and “The Babe” were the Top 5 movies at the domestic box office at the time.
9: Sandhagen wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission, accounting for 64% of his career total. His list of victims includes the aforementioned Edgar, Marlon Moraes, Mario Bautista, Iuri Alcantara and Austen Arnett.
120: Significant strikes landed by Sandhagen in his split decision over former Jungle Fight champion John Lineker at UFC Fight Night 150 on April 27, 2019. It established a personal-high for the Elevation Fight Team rep, besting his previous benchmark of 80.
6: Promotions in which Sandhagen has competed as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 7-1 in the UFC, 2-1 in the Legacy Fighting Alliance, 2-0 in the Resurrection Fighting Alliance, 1-0 in Fight To Win, 1-0 in Paramount MMA and 1-0 in the Sparta Combat League.
6.44: Strikes landed per minute by Sandhagen as a member of the UFC roster, placing him third on the promotion’s all-time list for bantamweights. Only Sean O’Malley (8.37) and Louis Smolka (7.12) have connected at a higher rate at 135 pounds.
35: Years of age for Dillashaw, who was born on Feb. 7, 1986 in Sonora, California—a little more than 500 miles from Ultimate Fighting Championship headquarters.
11: Dillashaw victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 69% of his career total (16). His list of victims includes Cody Garbrandt (twice), Renan Barao (twice), Joe Soto, Hugo Viana, Issei Tamura and Vaughan Lee.
1,004: Significant strikes landed by Dillashaw in UFC competition, placing him first on the organization’s all-time list at 135 pounds. No other bantamweight has landed more than 863 such strikes.
8: Post-fight bonuses banked by Dillashaw across his 16 appearances in the UFC. He has been awarded “Performance of the Night” on five occasions and “Fight of the Night” three times, resulting in $400,000 of additional income.
7: Fights in which Dillashaw has completed multiple takedowns since he joined the UFC roster in 2011. He owns a 6-1 record in those bouts, a split decision loss to World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Raphael Assuncao in October 2013 the lone outlier.