The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada tonight, July 24, 2021, for UFC on ESPN 27. The card is to be headlined by former five-time UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, who makes his long-awaited return in the main event. He’s been out two-and-a-half years, but he looks to get that belt back he never lost in a fight, and it starts with tonight.
Opposing him is No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen, who is on a two-fight win streak after knocking out former six-time WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes and former four-time UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, both in devastating fashion.
Does Dillashaw get back on track, where he left off in the bantamweight division or does Sandhagen add another multi-time world champion to his highlight reel?
Co-headlining the event comes to another bantamweight clash, this one between Kyler Phillips and Raulian Paiva, following the scrapped booking between Aspen Ladd and Macy Chiasson.
Phillips has looked incredible thus far into his UFC career, as he’s looking to make it four-straight inside the promotion, while Paiva comes up from 125 lbs. on a two-fight win streak himself.
For the full event, results click here.
In the main event of the evening, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw returns to action to get back on track to title contention. Following serving a two-and-a-half-year suspension, he returns to take on #2 ranked, Cody Sandhagen.
Sandhagen enters this bout looking to make it 3 in a row, following Frankie Edgar in 28 seconds during their matchup in February. With a win over Dillashaw, Sandhagen sits one spot behind Petr Yan and Champion, Aliamain Sterling, who are in talks to a rematch later this year.
Continue reading to see how this bantamweight main event played out.
Round 1: Both fighters touch gloves and Dillashaw pressures first. Sandhagen commits with a leg kick. Dillashaw returns with a body kick. Leg kick lands from Sandhagen. A crisp straight right-hand stop Dillashaw in his tracks. Flying knee attempted from Sandhagen and the fighters scramble. Sandhagen secures a tight inverted triangle. Dillashaw escapes and the fight returns to the feet. Dillashaw gets Sandhagens back against the fence while standing. Sandhagen splits the distance and the two resume to the center of the octagon. Dillashaw shoots for the takedown but Sandhagen nullified the advance. Sandhagen switches his stances, jabbing Dillashaw to keep him at bay. Dillashaw pushes the gas and secures a takedown. With seconds left, Sandhagen gets to his feet for the bell to sound.
MyMMANews scores round 1 for TJ Dillashaw. 10-9
Round 2: Sandhagen pumps his jab early. A teep kick from Sandhagen and Dillashaw press Sandhagen against the fence. Sandhagen gets off of the fence and picks up his punch output. Utilizing his reach, Sandhagen is switching stances to keep touching Dillashaw keeping him at the end of his punches. Sandhagen is finding his rhythm and successfully stringing his punches together. Dillashaw is cut above his right eye on the inside. Herb doing calls a halt to the contest for the doctor to take a look. The ringside physician sees no issue and lets the fight continue. Dillashaw is staying in the bout, but Sandhagen has gotten his timing down. Time again, Sandhagen is blasting Dillashaw with precision, crisp punches. Dillashaw scores takedown towards the close of the round.
MyMMANews scores round 2 for Cory Sandhagen. 10-9
Round 3: Dillashaw gets to work starting the round with hard punches, knowing he needs to make his way back into the bout. Dillashaw pressures Sandhagen against the fence, working for the takedown. Sandhagen escapes and gets back to work from the outside, utilizing his reach once again. Dillashaw is finding success with hard leg kicks and closes the distance, successfully. With less than a minute left, Sandhagen shoots for the takedown that’s easily fended off. Dillashaw secures Sandhagens back, pressing him against the fence. With moments left, both fighters let their hands go as the bell sounds.
MyMMANews scores round 3 for TJ Dillashaw. 10-9
Round 4: Dillashaw continues to press the action and immediately scores a hard leg kick. Dillashaw lands several hard punches with Sandhagen on his heels. Sandhagen attempts to throw a combination, but Dillashaw regains the back, standing while pressing Sandhagen against the fence. Towards the middle point of the round, Sandhagens accuracy picks up, again with his straights finding a home. Dillashaw closes the distance again, clinching the back against the fence, again. Sandhagen escapes once again to strike and Dillashaw repeats with the takedown. In the final 30 seconds of the round, the fighters have a shootout of strikes with Sandhagen landing the better of the two with his punches and Dillashaw landing better kicks.
MyMMANews scores round 4 for Cory Sandhagen. 10-9
Round 5: Dillashaw opens up with hard consecutive leg kicks, putting heavy pressure on Sandhagen. Sandhagen is working his strikes in his back foot but still landing successfully. Both fighters go tit-for-tat, trading hard strikes. Dillashaw presses Sandhagen against the fence again. Sandhagen circles and the pair get back to striking with Dillashaw continuing heavy pressure. Sandhagen pumps his jab and Dillashaw looks for another takedown. Sandhagen breaks free and Dillashaw clobbers Sandhagen with several bombs leading into another takedown attempt. Sandhagen rips a left hook to the body at the 30-second mark, instigating the pair to have a technical trade-off on the feet for the closing moments.
Official Result: TJ Dillashaw defeats Cory 48-47 Sandhagen, 48-47 Dillashaw. 48-47 Dillashaw.
Currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Wilmington University, Adam’s passion for the sport only grows stronger when a fighter’s voice can be heard. He thrives on asking detailed questions to inspire the thoughts behind the punches in hopes that each fighter can find their proper justice. Specializing in pre and post fight interviews for MyMMANews, Adam strives to keep the fight fans up to speed with the most recent and authentic MMA news possible.
He is Co-promoter of Delaware’s premier kick-boxing and Muay Thai organization, IBF Promotions. Recently he has also accompanied MMA organizations Global Proving Ground and XCC as Co-host and ringside commentator.