Cory Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw were briefly training partners, but their matchup on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw will not be a reunion of lifelong friends. Both bantamweight contenders said there is no love lost as they prepare for a battle that will likely result in a title shot for the winner. Their showdown tops the main UFC fight card (7 p.m. ET) from the Apex facility in Las Vegas. The second-ranked Sandhagen is looking for a signature win that will propel him to his first title shot. Dillashaw returns to the Octagon following a two-year hiatus because of a suspension.
Sandhagen is a -185 favorite (risk $185 to win $100), while Dillashaw is a +165 underdog in the latest UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw odds from William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event, women's bantamweight contenders take the spotlight as third-ranked Aspen Ladd (-185) takes on No. 9-rated Macy Chiasson (+165). Before making any picks of your own for UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw, make sure you see the MMA predictions from SportsLine insider Ian Parker.
A former fighter who's been in the industry for 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.
The revered MMA analyst continues to build on a massively profitable 2021 campaign for SportsLine members. He managed a 10-1 mark at UFC 264 that netted his followers a profit of nearly $900 and recorded another winning record at UFC Fight Night last week that included calling victories for Islam Makhachev (-650) over Thiago Moises (+475) in the lightweight main event and Meisha Tate (-135) over Marion Reneau (+115) in the bantamweight co-main event.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw in sight, Parker has carefully studied the MMA odds and matchups from every angle and released his top selections. A successful parlay of these picks would result in a payout of better than 10-1. You can only see these picks at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw preview
Parker knows the main event represents a potential turning point in the careers of both fighters and perhaps a title-elimination contest. The top-loaded division has some uncertainty at the moment, as current title-holder Aljamain Sterling is likely headed to a rematch with Petr Yan after their UFC 259 battle in March ended in Yan's controversial disqualification and handed the belt to Sterling.
In the meantime, Sandhagen and Dillishaw can make strong cases for the next opportunity with a standout performance on Saturday, while third-ranked Rob Font also likely will remain in the picture.
Sandhagen (14-2), 29, is widely viewed as the most well-rounded prospect in the top-heavy division and has long been hailed as a future title contender. At 5-11, he's tall for the division and his length and striking have given fits to his opponents.
The Colorado native has won seven of his eight fights under the UFC banner but has somewhat limited experience against top-flight competition. His only matchup against anyone currently in the top five resulted in a first-round submission loss to Sterling last June.
It stands to reason that Dilliashaw represents the most decorated opponent Sandhagen has faced. The 35-year-old won his first UFC title in 2014 with a historic upset of Renan Barao, and he won it for a second time with a knockout of Cody Garbrandt in November 2017.
Dillashaw (16-4) defended his title with another knockout of Garbrandt before losing by stoppage against Henry Cejudo in an attempt to win the flyweight title and become a two-division champion. His positive drug test stemmed from that bout, and his career and reputation took huge blows amid his subsequent suspension. You can only see who to back here.
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw predictions
We'll share one of Parker's UFC Fight Night selections here: He is supporting Miranda Maverick (-135) to outlast Maycee Barber (+115) in a battle of ranked women's flyweight contenders.
Barber (8-2), ranked No. 14, won her first eight professional MMA fights, with seven coming inside the distance. The 23-year-old striking specialist was hailed as a prodigal talent who could perhaps become one of the youngest champions in UFC history. However, the Colorado native saw her momentum derailed by a lopsided decision loss to veteran contender Roxanne Modafferi in January of last year. Her 2021 debut resulted in a decision loss to veteran Alexa Grasso in February.
The No. 13-ranked Maverick (9-2) is a former Invicta FC champion who has shown a well-rounded skill set while winning her first two fights under the UFC banner. The 24-year-old Missouri native is looking to build on a decision victory over veteran Gillian Robertson in March.
"Maverick is simply better everywhere and Barber has made no adjustments in her game. Maverick's pressure with her strikes and her strong top ground game should be more than enough," Parker told SportsLine.
How to make UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Sandhagen picks
Parker has strong picks for Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw and other fights on the UFC fight card. He's also backing one fighter to "land a high volume of strikes" and pull off a major upset. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw? And which fighter is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, card
Cory Sandhagen (-185) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (+165)
Aspen Ladd (-185) vs. Macy Chiasson (+165)
Kyler Phillips (-260) vs. Raulian Paiva (+220)
Darrick Minner (-160) vs. Darren Elkins (+140)
Miranda Maverick (-135) vs. Maycee Barber (+115)
Jordan Williams (-175) vs. Mickey Gall (+155)
Brendan Allen (-115) vs. Punahele Soriano (-105)
Ian Heinisch (-150) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (+130)
Adrian Yanez (-210) vs. Randy Costa (+180)
Julio Arce (-200) vs. Andre Ewell (+175)
Sijara Eubanks (-320) vs. Elise Reed (+260)