Longtime bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen produced one of the most impressive performances of his UFC career to defeat Marlon “Chito” Vera and position himself on the fringe of the title picture at 135 pounds.
Sandhagen and Vera faced off in the main event of UFC San Antonio, with the Colorado native showcasing his discipline and well-rounded game to keep Vera guessing through all five rounds of their featured bout in Texas.
Sandhagen started well and took control in the opening round, taking Vera to the mat and connecting with elbows from top position to establish an early lead on the scorecards. It was a lead he never relinquished, except in the eyes of one judge.
After a five-round fight that was dominated by Sandhagen, the judges inexplicably returned a split-decision verdict, thanks to a baffling scorecard returned by Texas judge Joel Ojeda, who scored the third, fourth and fifth rounds to Vera to the astonishment of fans, media, coaches and fighters alike on social media.
While Ojeda’s scorecard gave the fight to Vera, the other two judges, Chris Lee and Sal D’Amato, both scored the bout to Sandhagen with scores of 49-46 and 50-45, respectively.
After his victory, Sandhagen respectfully stated that he wouldn’t call for a title shot ahead of fellow contender Merab Dvalishvili, so opted instead to call out the Georgian with a cheesy line, “You say you’re hungry? I got something for you to eat, and it don’t taste good!”
In the night’s co-main event, former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm produced a dominant display to earn a shutout win on the scorecards against Russian contender and former training partner Yana Santos.
Holm turned to her ground game for large parts of the fight and dominated the action to earn scores of 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 to bounce back into the win column and claim the 15th win of her MMA career.
Also on the main card, crowd-pleasing featherweight Nate “The Train” Landwehr delivered an all-action performance before eventually submitting Austin Lingo with a second-round rear-naked choke. while Maycee Barber picked up a split-decision victory over Andrea Lee to extend her win streak to four as she looks to climb the women’s flyweight ranks.
There were also main card wins for Albert Duraev and Daniel Pineda, who claimed their victories via split decision and guillotine choke submission, respectively.
UFC San Antonio: Official results
- Cory Sandhagen def. Marlon Vera via split decision (47-48, 50-45, 49-46)
- Holly Holm def. Yana Santos via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Nate Landwehr def. Austin Lingo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:11
- Maycee Barber def. Andrea Lee via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Albert Duraev def. Chidi Njokuani via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Daniel Pineda def. Tucker Lutz via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 2:50
- Lucas Alexander def. Steven Peterson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Trevin Giles def. Preston Parsons via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- CJ Vergara def. Daniel da Silva via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:04
- Victor Altamirano def. Vinicius Salvador via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)