TJ Dillashaw (+165) Vs C Sandhagen $$
I can offer up a long list of reasons why TJ Dillashaw cannot win this fight.
TJ is making is first appearance in the octagon in over 30 months. The track record of other fighters making this type of comeback is not very good at all. He can almost certainly expect to have some form of ring rust.
In the fight I just mentioned 30 month ago, he was knocked out in just 32 seconds by a smaller fighter.
After getting knocked out so he easily, he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in his system, which did not seem to help too much in that fight. Presumably he is clean now and has completed this training camp without any illegal help.
His opponent is possibly the deadliest and most accurate striker in the history of the Bantam Weight division. In fact there are rumours that when these same two fighters spared in the gym several years ago, Sandhagen defeated Dillashaw so soundly, the coaches had to prevent the two from sparring ever again for fear of TJ getting injured.
Sandhagen’s last two fights were both kick boxing clinics and both ended with devastating knock outs.
I listened to an interview with TJ recently and honestly, I was less than impressed with some of the responses he had. He talked about a new business he started and how he no longer needs fighting to pay his bills. That is actually a terrible thing for a fighter because necessity really is the mother of all motivators. He seemed to be convinced he would easily roll over Sandhagen and then move right into a title fight to regain the belt that he never lost in the cage. At the time, this over confidence reeked of delusion to me.
But wait a minute, can this fight be that easy to handicap? The more I looked at this fight, the more it seemed to me that Dillashaw really does know something the rest of us didn’t. Why did TJ agree to take on such a difficult fight right out of the gate after coming back from suspension instead of looking for an easier warm up fight? It may be because he knew that something stylistically was in his favour.
For me this selection comes down to 108 seconds Sandhagen spent with Aljamain Sterling. It was in this short amount of time that Corey Sandhagen was embarrassed and exposed as someone who will never be champion. His wrestling and ground do seem to be non-existent and should be something that Dillashaw can easily exploit.
Dillashaw may be the best MMA wrestler in the history of the Bantam Weight division. If he knows all he needs to do is catch one body kick in order to take his opponent to the ground and then easily pound him out, this could be a short fight. One take down in the first minute of the fight could very easily prove to be start of the end.
TJ strikes me as a guy who takes calculated risks based on risk and reward. If he agreed to take this fight despite knowing he would be an underdog, my guess is he knows he will be able to take advantage of Sandhagen’s weaknesses.
UFC 2021 Picks 11-5, +10.68 units.