On July 24th, fight fans will be treated to another rendition of UFC Fight Night from the Apex Center in Las Vegas. The main event of the evening features two respected veterans of the sport in Cory Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw. The other five fights on the main card are comprised of up-and-coming prospects with potential, and warriors who’ve proven themselves inside the octagon. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Cory Sandhagen vs. T.J. Dillashaw
At one time, T.J. Dillashaw was one of the best known fighters in the UFC. However, a positive test for EPO after a fight in January of 2019, led to a two year suspension. His fight on the 24th will be the first time the public has seen him inside the octagon since then. At only 35 years old, Dillashaw still has a lot of good fighting years left in him. He is a former two time bantamweight champion in the organization and should not be taken lightly by any opponent, regardless of his long layoff.
Cory Sandhagen has only lost one fight since joining the UFC in 2018. He enters his matchup against T.J. Dillashaw on a two fight win streak, coming fresh off of a first round knockout victory in February against Frankie Edgar. Although Sandhagen has earned respect inside the division, he is yet to receive a title shot. A win against a big name opponent like Dillashaw could change all of that.
Aspen Ladd vs. Macy Chiasson
Aspen Ladd hasn’t had a professional fight since December of 2019. She will enter the octagon on July 24th on more than a year and a half layoff. It will be interesting to see if he skills have diminished or if the additional rest proves to be beneficial. Since joining the organization in October of 2017, Ladd has only fought five times. If she wants to become one of the elite fighters in the division, she is going to have to become much more active.
Macy Chiasson grabbed the attention of UFC fans when she won a match on the season finale of “The Ultimate Fighter” back in November of 2018. Since then, she’s only lost one match. However, she hasn’t been very active in recent years. She fought once in all of 2020 and she had a unanimous decision victory against Marion Reneau in March of this year. Like Ladd, Chiasson is going to have to show the organization she is hungry if she wants to be given more opportunities.
Kyler Phillips vs. Raulian Paiva
Kyler Phillips made his UFC debut in February of 2020 and is yet to lose a fight since joining the organization. Having won a unanimous decision against Song Yadong in March, Phillips has momentum and the sharpened skills of an active fighter on his side as he enters his July 24th bout.
Raulian Paiva hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since July of last year. He was scheduled to participate in a UFC Fight Night event in May of this year but he pulled out of the fight a day before the event, citing complications from his drastic weight loss. Now, a year after his last fight, Paiva is ready to make his return. It will be interesting to see if the long layoff impacts his ability to perform.
Darren Elkins vs. Darrick Minner
At 37 years old, Darren Elkins is a respected veteran of the sport who is yet to receive a title shot. Having lost four out of his last five bouts, it’s beginning to look like the wily veteran may never get a chance to compete for the belt. However, he is respected by his peers for his longevity and no opponent he’s up against dares to overlook him.
Darrick Minner enters his next bout on a two fight win streak, including a unanimous decision victory against Charles Rosa in February. Although he is a relative newcomer to the UFC, Minner knows what it feels like to be called a champion. He was the featherweight champion for a small promotion called Dynasty Combat Sports before getting his shot on the big stage. If he’s ever going to get the same opportunity in the world’s most popular mixed martial arts organization, he’s going to have to have impressive performances against respected fighters.
Miranda Maverick vs. Maycee Barber
Miranda Maverick is only 24 years old and she’s won both of her first two fights in the UFC. While she is a promising prospect as a fighter, she’s also no slouch in the classroom. She is a PhD student majoring in Industrial Psychology at Old Dominion University. Her ability to maintain a high level of performance as an athlete while balancing the rigors of completing her education is impressive.
Maycee Barber is on a two fight losing streak and desperately needs to get back into the win column in order to stay relevant. She debuted in the organization in November of 2018 and still has not come close to a title shot. If she wants that to happen, beating a highly touted prospect like Miranda Maverick would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Adrian Yanez vs. Randy Costa
July 24th will be Adrian Yanez’s third fight in the UFC organization. Although he enters the bout with limited experience, he’s looked impressive thus far. He won each of his first two fights by knockout. He is only 27 years old and he has plenty of time to make a name for himself. Fighting on the main card at a UFC Fight Night is certainly a step in the right direction.
Randy Costa hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since September of 2020. It will be interesting to see if taking ten months off has hurt his skills as a fighter. History is on Costa’s side; he had an eleven month layoff between his last two fights but he was able to win both matches with first round knockouts.
How to watch
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw, can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates and analysis available right here at World In Sport!