Another UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi is on tap for Saturday. The main event features a battle between bantamweights. Marlon Moraes, an experienced fighter from Brazil, will duke it out with American warrior Cory Sandhagen. Both are ranked in the top 5 and it’s sure to be an exciting bout.
We’ll analyze each fighter’s history and stats before getting into the betting lines. In the end, we’ll offer a free pick based off our analysis. Visit our sportsbook to place your bet on this fight and more on our UFC betting lines page.
Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) vs. Cory Sandhagen (12-2-0)
Betting Line: Moraes +115; Sandhagen -145
Marlon “Magic” Moraes
Moraes is a Brazilian mixed martial artist with an illustrious fighting career. At 32, he’s in his prime and is currently ranked No. 1 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.
Moraes began studying Muy Thai at the tender age of seven and then moved on to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at 15. He was crowned a Muy Thai champion twice in Brazil early on in his career and it was a precursor to the many accomplishments to come.
In 2012 he signed with the World Series of Fighting. After opening with a string of convincing victories he earned a spot against Josh Rettinghouse at WSOF 9 for the inaugural bantamweight championship. He won via unanimous decision and become the first WSOF bantamweight champ.
He successfully defended his belt several years running until he left the WSOF early in 2017, at which point he signed with UFC. Since his start in UFC, he has gone 5-2, with one title fight under his belt that took place June 8, 2019, against Henry Cejudo.
He ended up losing in the third round by KO/TKO.
Magic is known for being a powerful fighter who can also grapple due to his background in both Muy Thai and BJJ. He tends to come out explosively early on in fights so expect him to try and close this one out in the first few rounds.
Cory Sandhagen, 28, is also an experienced fighter although he hasn’t been around the block quite as many teams as Moraes. He began fighting professionally in 2015, most notably in the Legacy Fighting Alliance where he had mixed results.
He also has a kickboxing background and is a former World Kickboxing Association Champion.
Sandhagen joined UFC in January of 2018 and opened with a win in the second round against Austin Arnett via TKO.
As far as his UFC career goes, he is 5-1. His only loss came at the hands of Aljamain Sterling in June, where he was defeated by submission early in the first round. There’s no doubt he’ll be hungry for a strong performance.
He hasn’t had a shot at a title yet but if he keeps up this level of fighting, he’ll most likely get an opportunity sooner than later, especially if he can pull off a win. He’s currently ranked No. 4 in the UFC bantamweight division.
Moraes vs Sandhagen Betting Preview: Matchup
As far as their physical traits go, Sandhagen would appear to have a bit of an advantage. He’s 5 inches taller than Moraes, coming in at 5-foot-11 while Moraes is 5-foot-6. He also has three inches more of reach.
Sandhagen also averages nearly double the signature strikes per minute. His current average is at 6.95 while Moraes’ is 3.53. He is also more accurate with his current signature strike accuracy coming in at 48.94%. Moraes, on the other hand, averages almost 10% less at 29.28%.
Takedowns also go in Sanhagen’s favor, at least on paper. Sandhagen has a 1.20 takedown average with 50% accuracy while Moraes has a .46 average and 25%.
As far as statistics go the only thing that Moraes has in his favor is more total wins, which also speaks to the extra experience he has due to several more years as a professional fighter.
Both fighters are known for their impressive striking abilities and most experts are expecting a slugfest as opposed to a wrestling match. These two have won a majority of their last handful of fights by stoppage, so if this fight goes to a decision it won’t be for a lack of strikes attempted.
Moraes vs Sandhagen Betting Preview Free Pick
Looking at this fight from a numbers point of view Sandhagen seems to have all the advantages. He’s younger, has a higher win ratio, strikes more frequently with more accuracy, has a longer wingspan, and is taller.
If Moraes is going to win, he’s going to have to pull off a knockout early. He’s known for running out of gas. This will work to Sandhagen’s advantage as the fight drags on. If it comes to down to a decision, it’s almost certain Sandhagen will win considering how much more he throws kicks and punches.
Moraes has had a string of first-round knockouts recently and will definitely have this at the forefront of his strategy. As long as Sandhagen can fend off his early attacks he’ll be looking strong for a win.
Keep checking our MMA news page for the latest updates as we get close to another exciting night of UFC.