Cory Sandhagen v Frankie Edgar Betting Odds and Markets

Sandhagen v Edgar odds
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UFC Fight Night 184: Cory Sandhagen v Frankie Edgar

Keeping in trend with the UFC's fast-paced turnaround with events in 2021, we have another exciting card on our hands in early February.

It might not be Conor McGregor-PPV worthy, but the UFC Fight Night card on February 6 will certainly get the hardcores watching.

In the main event, it's a heavyweight clash between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov - read our preview for this bout here. In this article though, we're delving deep into the details, for the fascinating bantamweight match-up between Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar.

Our co-main event sees two top-four ranked in the vision lock horns, in what is likely an unofficial no. 1 contender bout.

Arguably the UFC’s most talent-rich division, 135 lbs is a weight class every MMA fan should be firmly invested in this year and the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 184 epitomises its strength.
In a bout poised to have significant title implications, let’s explore how the two men match up.

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How Cory Sandhagen wins the fight

Coming off a career-best performance and a career-best finish, Cory Sandhagen is the rightful big favourite here, at 1/4.

Back in October, Sandhagen’s most recent outing saw a dynamic wheel kick finish, preceded by a number of impressive exchanges in favour of ‘Sandman”, over then no. 1 ranked Marlon Moraes in a highly impressive showing.

Many may believe that Moraes’ subsequent fight against Rob Font last month resulted somewhat of a retrospective diminishment of Sandhagen’s finish over the Brazilian, but Moraes’ tame demeanour against Font was likely a consequence of the dismantling he suffered at the hands of Sandhagen - at least partially, anyway.

Sandhagen will be confident in that he has several advantages over the experienced Edgar: length; ring generalship; he’s superior at both mid and long-range and he has a more diverse, more dynamic skillset on the feet.

The main concern for Sandhagen would be that his first line of takedown defence has often proved, let’s say, penetrable, but fortunately for him, his excellent scrambling ability makes him difficult to control.

Some might be tempted to use Sandhagen’s bout with Aljamain Sterling to exemplify his potential vulnerabilities against Edgar, but Sterling is an anomaly in the 135 lbs division as far as top control is concerned and his quick, ruthless submission over Sandhagen is more than likely irreplicable for Edgar - or anybody else in the top 15 at bantamweight, for that matter.

Sandhagen works the body well and has an astute snap front kick, which could prove consequential here as it’s the safest and most effective body kick to use against opponents with a potent wrestling threat, given that it can be thrown at volume and is very difficult to catch.

Sandhagen will want to keep the fight out of pocket range, but will also be more than willing to pressure Edgar, as keeping him on the back foot will force his wrestling attempts to be more reactive than proactive, meaning they’ll be less forceful.

With the fight on the feet, Sandhagen will plague Edgar with diverse attacks to the leg, body and head and will likely be very successful in the process.

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How Edgar wins the fight

At 39-years-old, it’s a testament to the greatness of Frankie Edgar that he’s still able to compete with much younger opponents in arguably the sport’s deepest division. Despite this, he enters the Octagon with a big underdog price of 11/4.

Edgar’s last fight against Pedro Munhoz saw him take a fairly fortuitous, albeit close, split decision win in what was a back and forth encounter with the Brazilian.

For his age, Edgar still looked remarkably fast against Munhoz but he isn’t the man with the speed advantage here.

Despite being a clever fighter, Munhoz is arguably the slowest fighter in the top 15 at bantamweight yet he was still able to find success both using the check hook and timing Edgar’s entries.

As has been the case throughout much of his career, Edgar has a huge task at hand in attempting to close the distance on a much longer opponent. He’ll likely attempt to do so by blitzing into pocket range using shifting combinations while also attempting to work in his wrestling game to unsettle Sandhagen’s defensive reactions.

Many will be inclined to draw a favourable comparison for Edgar here with his fight against Yair Rodríguez - where Edgar took down the much longer opponent with ease, controlled him from top position and battered him with ground and pound.

However, the truth is that outside of them both being long, rangy fighters, Sandhagen and Rodríguez aren’t really similar; Sandhagen is more diverse; has far better footwork - both defensively and offensively; has a far better command of position and is a persistent stance switcher. Frankly, he’s better than Rodríguez in every department.

Edgar will still be looking to do to Sandhagen what he did to Rodríguez, though, because his best chance of a win likely lies with his ability to grind out a decision through the use of his wrestling.
While still a very competent wrestler, a natural and unavoidable age-related decline in explosiveness means Frankie Edgar isn’t the wrestling threat he once was.

Edgar may have some success with the initial takedown but the likelihood of him controlling Sandhagen for extended periods appears slim.

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Fight Prediction

Edgar’s chances in this fight are not nil; he’s still a competitive fighter at this level, but he’s facing a man 12 years his junior who very much embodies the modern era of MMA, and in such a young sport it’s exceptionally difficult for a fighter to transition from one era to another as the technical metagame evolves, even if they retain much of their athleticism.

Despite Edgar’s inevitable attempts to make the fight a close range contest, Sandhagen’s footwork and distance management should keep him out of the desired wrestling range of the much shorter man, so providing he keeps the fight on the feet he should win this one without too much trouble.

Sandhagen via decision is our pick here, but it will be of little surprise if he registers a second consecutive KO.

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