UFC Vegas 32 will mark the return of former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw against Cory Sandhagen in the main event.
Dillashaw was banned for two years after it was revealed that he tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) prior to his flyweight title fight with Henry Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn in 2019, which he lost by TKO in only 32 seconds.
While Dillashaw is looking to jump right back into title contention with a win on Saturday, number two ranked bantamweight contender Sandhagen sees his upcoming fight as an opportunity to solidify his spot as the number one contender.
The card also features exciting fights betweens several highly-touted prospects. In the co-main event, Aspen Ladd takes on Macy Chiasson, while elsewhere on the main card, Kyler Phillips fights Raulian Paiva, Darren Elkins battles Darrick Minner and Miranda Maverick takes on Maycee Barber.
Cory Sandhagen vs TJ Dillashaw
Stylistically, Sandhagen vs Dillashaw is an amazing headliner. Both fighters are excellent strikers, who love to dictate the pace of the fight and deliver a great performance.
Sandhagen is a kick-heavy fighter, but he’s got great movement and hits very hard. Dillashaw is more composed in comparison, but his excellent movement and footwork, coupled with the variety of strikes he has in his arsenal make him an extremely dangerous opponent for anyone.
Dillashaw also has high-level wrestling, which has proved to be the Achilles heel of his UFC Vegas 32 opponent in the past. However, the former bantamweight champion hasn’t fought for over two years, and ring rust could well play a major role against Sandhagen, who has fought five times since Dillashaw’s last fight. The fight could go either way.
Aspen Ladd vs Macy Chiasson
Aspen Ladd vs Macy Chiasson is a great fight between two prospects oozing with confidence. Chiasson is a very well-rounded fighter, but she’s more of a striker than a grappler and has shown weaknesses in her grappling game.
In contrast, Ladd is solid on the feet, but grappling is where her strength lies and she’s extremely ruthless once she gets her opponents onto the mat. Chiasson has to stop those takedowns from Ladd if she is to make the fight interesting.
Kyler Phillips vs Raulian Paiva
Kyler Phillips made his name in the hardcore MMA circles with an impressive win over China’s Song Yadong earlier this year and has earned high praise from many big names in the MMA world. Raulian Paiva hasn’t had an overly impressive start to his UFC career, with two wins in four fights, but he’s still a fighter with promise.
Both fighters are similar in many ways. They are both very well rounded, with great striking and BJJ credentials, both are in their mid-20s and both have the same height. Paiva will have the edge in the clinch, where he can use his Muay Thai knees and elbows to hurt his opponent. At distance, Phillips will be more effective with his kicks, movement, and footwork.
This should make things very interesting, and we should expect a very close fight between the two.
Darren Elkins vs Darrick Minner
Darren Elkins vs Darrick Minner is the lone veteran vs prospect matchup on the main card. Elkins has been competing in the UFC since 2010, while Minner signed with the promotion last year, and has amassed a 2-1 record so far.
Minner is a submission specialist, who has won 22 fights by tap out. His game plan is no secret to anyone. He will be stepping inside the Octagon at UFC Vegas 32 to earn his 23rd submission victory. But making Elkins tap out is going to be a hard job, and if Minner fails to do so, Elkins will find a way to win, as he’s more well-rounded, and has more experience fighting at the highest level.
Miranda Maverick vs Maycee Barber
Both Miranda Maverick and Maycee Barber are up-and-coming prospects, and the UFC rarely makes these sorts of matchups. But this one promises to be a super exciting one.
Barber is a vicious hitter, with a karate background and very legitimate ground game, whereas Maverick is primarily a grappler, but she’s also incredibly strong and powerful on the feet. Both are very aggressive and explosive as well and love imposing their will on their opponents. Rest assured, it’s not going to be a boring fight, whatever the outcome may be.
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