Video Credit: The MMA Guru

New FSM Essential Recap: UFC on ESPN 32 – Sandhagen vs Dillashaw


UFC on ESPN 32 was another exciting night of fights with a triumphant return of a former champion.


UFC on ESPN 32
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The UFC was back on ESPN with yet another thrilling card of fights with some of the world’s best MMA fighters. Headlined with the return of former champion TJ Dillashaw ( 17-4 ), who was able to get a win against Cory Sandhagen ( 14-3 ) via split decision.

For two warriors not prone to going the distance often ( of their combined 31 victories, 20 have come by finish ), these two went to war for five rounds. Exchanging shots and Sandhagen landing his signature flying knee early in the bout, TJ was able to push through and land a takedown and control most of the round till the bell. Playing to their strengths, TJ kept the pressure on by constantly moving forward through the entire bout. In contrast, Sandhagen played counter striker, looking for his openings to unload his explosive offense.

Going back to his roots, TJ utilized wrestling to press Sandhagen against the fence and control him on the mat when the fight went to the ground. The Sandman would threaten submissions from the bottom, and at one point in the first, TJ clearly injured his knee, which after the bout said he thinks it popped.


UFC on ESPN 32
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The questions going into this match were clearly answered with high praises. Sandhagen showed he can not only going the distance but clearly deserved to be among the best in the division despite coming up short. There was no ring rust for TJ as he came back off a two-year suspension to show his position among the elite hasn’t changed, and a title shot is not far off in the future for him as he called for one in his post fight interview.

Elite skill levels were put on display in this main event as to whether they stood on their feet and exchange strikes or grappled amongst the cage or on the mat, both fighters showed just how impressive their all-around game is, and to beat either of them, you’re gonna have to be at the top of your game that night. Going forward, both will find success and possibly cross paths once again as their skill sets and styles make for an exciting match-up.


Speaking of exciting matchups, this card was filled with fights that delivered some fun and exciting bouts to watch.


The co-main event saw a throw down between fellow Bantamweights Raulian Paiva ( 21-3 ) winning a back and forth battle against Kyler Phillps ( 9-2 ). what looked to be a first-round win for Phillps who hurt Paiva several times, turned out to an all-out war as Paiva would make his comeback through the remaining two rounds and outlast fan-favorite Phillps.

This entertaining match-up was one to enjoy from start to finish, even having a former two-division champion and future Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier, who was on commentary, say, “every time these two clinch and grapple, I just wanna say stop that and keep fighting.” It goes to show you how much of a battle these two put on for the fans. We were also treated to a fantastic showcase of carnage as Darren Elkins ( 26-9 ) stopped Darrick Minner ( 26-12 ) in a showcase of an elite grappler ( Minner ) vs. a damaging punisher ( Elkins ). Back and forth on the mat majority of the bout, Minner nearly pulled off several submissions but couldn’t withstand the strength and pressure Elkins is known to use to overwhelm his opponents.

An impressive win for Elkins, but the real winners were the fans in this type of bout.


Another good fight card is in the books as the UFC continues to entertain fantastic fight cards one after the other. Whether we are watching champions, former champions, title contenders, or up and comers, the UFC will continue to give us entertaining fight cards to enjoy.



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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

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