UFC Nashville Odds, Pick & Prediction for Cory Sandhagen vs. Rob Font: Special Bet for Main Event (Saturday, August 5)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC Nashville headliners Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font
Cory Sandhagen vs. Rob Font Odds
On Saturday the UFC returns to Music City for the first since March 2019 for an important UFC Nashville main event.
Saturday night's headliner is a meaningful one for the UFC's bantamweight rankings with No. 4-ranked contender Cory Sandhagen and No. 7-ranked Rob Font at a 140-pound catchweight.
Both fighters have excellent cardio and are prepared for a high-tempo striking match in the finale of the 12-bout UFC Nashville event (6 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN+).
Font was initially booked to fight Song Yadong (in a three-round fight) at UFC 292 in a couple of weeks but is replacing injured Umar Nurmagomedov on short notice, resulting in the five-pound allowance.
While he wasn't training for a 25-minute fight, Font has sufficient five-round experience; Saturday will mark his fourth headlining opportunity in his past five bouts (he went 1-2 against Cody Garbrandt, Jose Aldo and Chito Vera).
Sandhagen enters on a two-fight winning streak and hopes to re-enter the title picture with a win on Saturday. The UFC Nashville headliner will mark his sixth five-round booking in his past seven appearances, and each of his past four fights has seen a fourth round.
Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC Nashville main event between Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:37||11:52|
|Weight (pounds)||139.5 pounds||139 pounds|
|Date of birth||4/20/1992||6/25/1987|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.98||6.46|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.90||4.03|
|Take Down Avg||0.89||1.01|
While Sandhagen is the taller fighter – and should be able to touch Font on the outside with his dynamic kicking game – Font has the slight reach advantage and is the superior boxer.
Font fights behind a crisp jab – one of the best in MMA – which he sticks in his opponent's face to set up combinations or create opportunities to counter.
I also enjoy when Font doubles up on the jab and puts a little extra snap into the punch; he consistently surprises opponents with the amount of power the punch generates from a short angle. Relative to other MMA practitioners, Font is a master of the technique.
You can see his striking acumen and surprising power in his short – though incredibly exciting – fight with Adrian Yanez at UFC 287.
However, you should also notice the amount of damage surrounding Font's eye after absorbing just 21 head strikes, a year removed from his last bout, where his eye also swelled severely in a loss to Chito Vera.
While Font has never been knocked out in his career – and has proven incredibly durable – he doesn't provide the best optics for judges relative to his opponents.
Font out-landed Vera 271-159 in a five-round loss since he was knocked down multiple times and looked noticeably worse for wear despite the striking discrepancy.
He also out-landed Jose Aldo 149-86 in a five-round loss in which he was knocked down twice and wobbled on other occasions. All those jabs are necessary, but don't score as highly with the judges.
Additionally, Font has never gone out cold but seems to get wobbled at least once in all his fights. Typically, those moments cost him the round. However, Pedro Munhoz turned the opportunity into a finishing sequence by snatching a guillotine as a recovering Font shot a panic takedown.
Furthermore, with his eye swelling as bad as in his past two fights, I'm also concerned about a doctor's stoppage at some point in his future.
In addition to being the younger fighter, on a full camp, without cutting as much weight as usual, Sandhagen is also the more durable fighter and provides superior damage optics for judges. Font is more technical, and Sandhagen is a violence artist.
Sandhagen likely has the speed advantage – and can keep up with Font's output, too – but he's also more unpredictable, with his spinning attacks, flying knees and vicious step-in elbows.
Even if he is the more durable fighter, it's challenging to justify Sandhagen as this significant of favorite unless he finishes the fight quickly or proactively grapples and successfully does so. Any prolonged striking fight between this pair should be relatively close and competitive on volume.
And of the two, Font punches harder. Both regularly out-land their opponents by a wide margin (Font +2.43 and Sandhagen +2.08 significant strike differential per minute). I would be surprised if either pulled away on output by a significant margin.
Sandhagen consistently looked for the takedown against Vera (landed three of 12 attempts, 7:08 control time) and was initially preparing for a problematic grappling test against Nurmagomedov before Font stepped up.
Although Font is a decent grappler – and does try to mix in takedowns of his own – he has primarily been out-wrestled by fellow strikers, and I think Sandhagen has made more noticeable gains in that area.
To summarize, Font should have the advantage in the pocket, but Sandhagen likely has an advantage playing the outside kicking game, and the overall striking volume and optics should be competitive.
However, Sandhagen is more durable and offers more cardio and grappling upside relative to his opponent, especially with Font taking the bout on short notice.
Sandhagen vs. Font Pick
I projected Cory Sandhagen as a 75.4% favorite (-307 implied odds) in this matchup, and I don't see value on either side of the moneyline.
Additionally, I expect the bout to end inside the distance 53% of the time (-111 implied odds), and I don't see value concerning the total or any winning method props either.
However, one bet I would place is Rob Font on the Decision Only Moneyline (+225 at DraftKings). That special bet will grade only if the fight hits the scorecards, meaning it will push if either fighter wins inside the distance.
Considering that I give vastly more finishing equity to Sandhagen and much more comparable decision equity on either side, I'm certainly interested in having a Font ticket if the fight goes 25 minutes – and I'm surprised that the pricing isn't more competitive in that market.