Aljamain Sterling vs. Cory Sandhagen Odds, Picks & Prediction: Can ‘Funk Master’ Become the No. 1 Contender?

Credit:

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Aljamain Sterling.

  • In a fight that could very well be for a belt Aljamain Sterling (-118 betting favorite) will face Cory Sandhagen (-106) on the UFC 250 main card.
  • Sandhagen is undefeated in the UFC, but has his work cut out for him against the veteran Sterling.
  • How should you bet tonight's fight? Our MMA expert Sean Zerillo details his favorite bets for the matchup below.

When Henry Cejudo announced his retirement last month, it left a hole in the bantamweight division that both Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen are hoping to fill with a win on Saturday night at UFC 250.

While Dana White already has a fight in mind for the vacant 135-pound belt, he essentially acknowledged Saturday’s bout between Sterling and Sandhagen would be title eliminator of sorts to determine the No. 1 contender for the belt once a champion is crowned.

That certainly raises the stakes for two talented fighters in a bout the bookmakers already have as a pick’em — both are listed at -112 as of this writing at DraftKings.


UFC 250 PROMOS! Bet Amanda Nunes at +500 odds, boosted from -600!


Tale of the Tape

Aljamain Sterling Cory Sandhagen
Record 18-3-0 12-1
Avg. Fight Time 12:42 9:40
Height 5’7″ 5’11”
Weight (pounds) 135 lbs. 135 lbs.
Reach (inches) 71″ 70″
Stance Orthodox Switch
Date of birth 7/31/89 4/20/92
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.98 5.16
SS Accuracy 48% 63%
SS Absorbed Per Min 4.85 7.14
SS Defense 50% 48%
Take Down Avg 1.91 1.24
TD Acc 29% 50%
TD Def 51% 27%
Submission Avg 0.8 0.6

 

Sterling vs. Sandhagen Betting Pick

In my opinion, this might as well be the Bantamweight title fight, as I think the winner ultimately defeats the interim champion, to be decided between Jose and Petr Yan and it’s a shame that we won’t get five rounds of Sterling vs. Sandhagen; though we might one day with a belt on the line.

Sterling is an incredible wrestler and grappler, who is extremely difficult to hit. Still, his striking has improved drastically in recent years, and he’s amongst the most well-rounded MMA fighters on the planet.

Sandhagen is the more active and powerful striker; however, using his switch stance to confuse opponents from multiple angles with hands, legs, knees, and elbows. He’s also a fearless wrestler and extremely tough, so he won’t be afraid of going to the mat with Sterling, and has been taken down in each of his five UFC fights.

I expect Sterling’s higher fight IQ and experience to prove too much in the end for Sandhagen. The two men own similar striking metrics, but Sandhagen’s opponents are eight for 11 in takedown attempts in his five UFC fights, and the better wrestler should be able to dominate from top position for a good portion of this fight – after using the smaller octagon to work Sandhagen against the fence.

81% of the crowd who picked Sterling chose him to win by decision. If you multiply that 81% by his fight odds (implied 54%), you get expected odds of +129 (implied 43.7%).

As a result, betting Sterling to win by decision (+175) offers at least 7% in line value, and is the only way that I would play this fight.

Zerillo’s Pick: Sterling by Decision (+175)
Bet at +262 with a 50% odds boost at DK

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