A pivotal bantamweight clash of perennial contenders, Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling, and Cory ‘The Sandman’ Sandhagen is expected to feature at UFC 250 on June 6th. – in what’s widely regarded as a potential title-eliminator at 135-pounds.
Uniondale native, Sterling – who’s been on an absolute tear of four straight victories, last took a unanimous decision against Pedro Munhoz last June – earning the #2 rank at bantamweight. Dynamic competitor, Sandhagen, who currently sits at #4 at 135-pounds – last scored a decision shutout versus, Raphael Assunção, to remain undefeated in the promotion. News of the high-stakes matchup was first reported by ESPN writer, Ariel Helwani.
Sterling, 30, who plys his trade under the renowned Matt Serra and Ray Longo at Serra-Longo Fight Team – has rebounded from a devastating short-notice knockout loss to former title challenger, ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes back in December 2017, picking up four consecutive successes. A Suloev stretch submission of Cody Stamann – was sandwiched between decision wins over Brett Johns, Jimmie Rivera, and the previously noted, Munhoz. Apart from split decision losses to Bryan Caraway, and common foe, Assunção – Sterling has seen success.
The Matt Serra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has notched other Octagon triumphs over Cody Gibson, Hugo Viana, Takeya Mizugaki, Johnny Eduardo, Augusto Mendes, and former pound-for-pound number one, Renan Barão.
Debuting in the Octagon back in January of 2018 – Elevation Fight Team product, Sandhagen – has been flawless since. The 28-year-old has scored victories over Austin Arnett, Iuri Alcântara, Mario Bautista, recent ONE Championship signee, John Lineker, and the previously mentioned, Assunção.
Before his matching with Sterling – the Aurora-based contender was campaigning for a clash with former two-time bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz for a UFC Fight Night San Diego card which was ultimately shelved. Cruz would go on to replace José Aldo – where he’d lose via second-round knockout to Henry Cejudo in a bantamweight title matching at UFC 249. Sandhagen puts his seven-fight undefeated run on the line – as both contenders attempt to earn their premier promotional title tilt.