After losing to Petr Yan for the interim championship, Cory Sandhagen fell in the bantamweight division rankings.
He competed against rising sensation Song Yadong in the main event of UFC Vegas 60.
One of the top youngsters in the sport, Song is only 24 years old. He entered this match ranked at 10 in one of the sport’s most competitive categories. He was taking on fourth-ranked Sandhagen in an attempt to make a significant step up.
This combo from Cory Sandhagen😍
— ᴛʜᴇᴀʀᴛᴏꜰᴡᴀʀ🗿🏝 (@TheArtOfWar6) September 18, 2022
Sandhagen’s only UFC defeats have come at the hands of current or past 135-pound champions. Due to the fact that both had exceptional striking skills, this bout was one of the most anticipated bouts this September.
Cory Sandhagen unexpectedly attempted a takedown in the opening 20 seconds, but opponent Song Yadong was able to stop it. However, neither guy came out in danger, and they swiftly ramped up the action.
— 🔥MMA Fire Vids🔥 (@FireMMAVids) September 18, 2022
Song hit Cory with a huge right. He then tried again for a takedown but was unsuccessful. He attempted another in the middle of the cage, this time a single leg, but Song Yadong reversed the takedown and gained top control.
Although Cory had to give up his back to stand up—a problem he experienced in many of his prior bouts—he pushed Yadong and used a clinch exchange to stand up again. Yadong was forced to chase Sandhagen around outside of the octagon. However, he did land a good number of blows as well.
— Song Yadong (@SongYadongLFG) September 18, 2022
When within range, Cory had success with probing straight punches and round kicks. When the bell rang, it was unclear who had won the first round.
Song Yadong delivered a powerful hook at the end of the first minute that knocked Sandhagen across the whole cage, but Cory was able to recover. Soon after, Cory successfully completed a massive double leg takedown, but Yadong floated his hips as he struck the ground and rose to his feet. A large gash on Yadong’s forehead, just above his eye, was caused by a glancing elbow from Cory in the middle of the round. Blood spilled across both competitors when they briefly clinched.
As the analysts suggested that the cut would mean a possible end of the match, Cory resumed his evasive tactics and began to work cutting down his opponent’s legs. Possibly as a result of the cut or just because of that evasiveness, Yadong’s offensiveness drastically decreased in the latter part of the second round.
The cut made it feasible for Cory to win the round, but everyone was wondering whether the event would be stopped because Yadong’s right eye was now nearly completely closed.
But after the break, the event resumed because the cutman performed an exceptional job, and Yadong’s eye looked much better. They then exchanged open stance body kicks to start the round. After 90 seconds, Sandhagen stepped in and kneeled Yadong, causing the cut to reopen and leak over his face.
Even though Cory’s takedown attempts were unsuccessful, Yadong was starting to react strongly to them, creating opportunities for strikes. Due his success in round two, Cory repeatedly used step-in elbows, which further widened the cut over his opponent’s eye.
As he pursued Sandhagen, Yadong fired a lot of strong strokes, but they were hitting far less often than they had in the previous two rounds. With a powerful left hook to the liver and a somewhat successful flying knee, Cory concluded the round. The doctor examined the wound once again and said that it might heal but warned that if it deepened any more, it would be fatal.
On paper, Sandhagen seemed to have the edge going into the championship rounds given his prior experience there and Yadong’s utter lack of it. Sandhagen had a busy start to the round, but Song found a place for two powerful right hands once he calmed down. Song then grabbed a kick and knocked Sandhagen to the ground.
Sandhagen successfully chain wrestled Yadong onto his back for an extended period of time. Cory made the most of the opportunity to maintain top full guard for the remainder of the round and just inflict harm with quick punches to the head.
Cory Sandhagen get the stoppage at the end of the fourth 💥
Cory elbows a huge cut on Song Yadong’s eyebrow early in the fight! 💪🩸
He continues to work it and the fight gets stopped at the end of the fourth #UFCVegas60
— Combat Sports UK (@CombatSportsUK) September 18, 2022
The cut seemed to be worse than ever. It was about half an inch wide and maybe two inches long, running straight through his eyebrow, and it was probable it would stop the event – which it did after four rounds of combat. In ecstasy, Cory fell on his knees, breaking his losing streak.
Song Yadong was unable to see out of his cut eye and after the doctor had finished examining him it was the end of UFC Vegas 60 main event.