UFC on ESPN+ 68 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong: Expect This Contender to Pull Away Late (Saturday, September 17)

UFC on ESPN+ 68 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong: Expect This Contender to Pull Away Late (Saturday, September 17) article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Corey Sandhagen

  • Saturday's UFC headliner features ranked bantamweight contenders Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong.
  • Sandhagen is a nearly 2-1 favorite in the ESPN+ main event.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup and the different ways he's betting the favorite.

Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong Odds

Sandhagen Odds
Yadong Odds
4.5 (-165 / +127)
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
9:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via Caesars.

A future bantamweight title challenger could emerge from Saturday's main event between No. 4-ranked contender Cory Sandhagen and No. 10-ranked Song Yadong.

Sandhagen has lost his past two fights – a pair of five-round decisions against Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw – though many think he won the Dillashaw fight.

Yadong is on a three-fight winning streak and will make his first main event appearance in the UFC. He has competed in a five-round fight – a decision loss on the Chinese regional scene in 2017.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday's matchup and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Song main event.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time10:3810:00
Weight (pounds)135 lbs.135 lbs.
Reach (inches)70"67"
Date of birth4/20/199212/2/1997
Sig Strikes Per Min6.424.92
SS Accuracy44%42%
SS Absorbed Per Min4.503.78
SS Defense55%59%
Take Down Avg0.710.45
TD Acc33%42%
TD Def67%60%
Submission Avg0.40.3

Sandhagen is both the taller and longer fighter (a three-inch advantage in both height and reach), and he should be the one moving forward and dictating the pace for the vast majority of the contest.

Sandhagen trains at altitude and can rack up a high significant strike total for the duration of a long fight. He attempted 449 strikes in five rounds against Yan (17.9 attempts per minute), compared to an average of 14.6 attempts per minute throughout his UFC career.

While he generally outlands his opponents (+2.02 strike differential per minute), it doesn't always matter; Sandhagen landed more strikes against both Yan And Dillashaw in those decision losses.

Yadong is an excellent counter-puncher and should possess a clear power advantage in this fight.

Additionally, while Sandhagen should land more strikes, Yadong may have the more impactful moments in each round, forcing the judges to weigh the cumulative damage of Sandhagen's work against the immediate damage inflicted by his counterpart.

While both men are hittable, both appear to be highly durable too. And I anticipate a 25-minute war between this pair of talented strikers.

Although I don't anticipate a ton of grappling, Yadong likely has the wrestling advantage; Sandhagen has long, skinny legs and subpar takedown defense (33%). It's in Yadong's best interest to mix some level changes and keep Sandhagen from getting too comfortable at kickboxing range.

Still, the five-round format certainly favors Sandhagen. If he can deny takedowns from Yadong and put in attritional work on his opponent's legs and body, he should be able to take over the fight in the later rounds.

Overall, I view Sandhagen as the more reliable minute-winner, while I give Song more finishing upside.

Song carries as much power as any fighter in the 135-pound division, and it seems likely that he'll wobble Sandhagen at some point over 25 minutes.

The question is whether Song can secure two or three of those big moments – while staying competitive – if he wants to swing the scorecards in his favor, as Sandhagen should pull away on volume.

Sandhagen vs. Yadong Pick

I projected Cory Sandhagen as a 65.7% favorite (-191 implied) in this matchup, and I don't see value on either side of the moneyline. I would be willing to lay the juice with the American at -175 (63.6% implied) or better, at a 2% edge compared to my number.

I projected the bout to go the distance 56% of the time (-129 implied), and I don't see any value concerning the total.

Moreover, I don't see any value in the winning-method market.

However, Sandhagen by decision (projected +134, listed +120 at DraftKings) or Yadong by KO/TKO (projected +483, listed +450 at BetRivers) are both just out of range.

Ultimately, I bet an SGP at DraftKings with Sandhagen and the Over 2.5 Rounds (-115). Song should do his best work early on – when he is fresh – but I expect Sandhagen's cardio to prove the difference-maker down the stretch, and he may find a late finish.

As a result, we'll take all of Sandhagen's decision equity and late finish equity closer to even money rather than laying the extra juice to get to his moneyline price.

And you can search for a live bet on Sandhagen after Round 3 and/or Round 4, assuming Yadong has a 2-1 lead or the fight is tied 2-2 heading into the final frame.

The Pick: SGP: Cory Sandhagen and Over 2.5 Rounds (-115 at DraftKings, 0.5u) | Sandhagen Live after Round 3 | Sandhagen Live after Round 4

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