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.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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