Let’s take a look at the opening odds, early betting pick and breakdown of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 32 main event. UFC Vegas 32 takes place July 24 at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas in front of a (small) live crowd for the first time at the apex since the UFC began putting on shows at their headquarters.
The main event is a fight that’s been a long time in the making between No. 2 bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen and the former two-time bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, who returns from a multi-year USADA suspension.
Sandhagen enters this bout as a -180 favorite, meaning you have to lay $180 to win $100 with a bet on The Sandman. Dillashaw is entrenched as the underdog with a betting line of +155, meaning a $100 bet would profit $155 should the former champion return to the win column.
Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw fight breakdown
This fight was originally scheduled for May 28 before Dillashaw was forced to withdraw a week prior to the event due to a cut suffered in training. However, the backstory between these two men goes back years, all the way to when Dillashaw was a dominant champion at 135 pounds and Sandhagen wasn’t even in the UFC, as these two were training partners at Elevation Fight Team in Denver and reportedly have had very competitive sparring matches. Another narrative-based wrinkle in this fight is the fact that Dillashaw hasn’t fought since early 2019, when he fell short of becoming a double champion against Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw was suspended by USADA following that loss and has been suspended for over two years. On that January night in 2019 Sandhagen picked up his third UFC victory and has gone 4-1 since Dillashaw last fought, including back-to-back knockout wins over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar after being submitted by current champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250. Stylistically, Sandhagen is one of the most diverse strikers in the UFC and has a multitude of weapons that he pairs with incredible output (6.85 Strikes Landed per Minute) which leads to a very difficult puzzle to solve at 5-foot-11. Dillashaw has a unique fighting styles that sets the tone for many upcoming fighters in the lower weight classes, as he’s in a constant state of lateral movement and frequently attacks in small blitzes. Dillashaw is also a competent wrestler, landing 1.68 takedowns per 15 minutes over his 16-fight UFC sample.
MMA betting picks — UFC Vegas 32
This is such a fascinating matchup because of the history between these two men. While everybody has a take on the former training sessions that went down in Denver, the only people that truly know what happened during sparring are Sandhagen and Dillashaw. In terms of how the fight breaks down, lining Sandhagen as a solid favorite in this spot makes sense just due to his recent body of work and the fact that we haven’t seen Dillashaw in nearly 30 months and he’s now 35 years old and has relied on quickness and speed so much throughout his career. Sandhagen will enjoy a significant 5-inch height advantage and 3-inch reach advantage in this fight, which he has typically used to control range very successfully in past fights. It’s important to acknowledge the potential wrestling upside of Dillashaw in this spot as he’s had wrestling success in the past and if there’s one glaring weakness in the game of Sandhagen it’s his poor 30% takedown defense. However, Sandhagen is an above-average scrambler should this fight hit the ground, and I don't see Dillashaw being able to stay on top for long periods of time. So while Dillashaw could see some wrestling success, he would likely need to shoot takedowns in massive volume after coming off a long layoff and never having employed a super wrestling-heavy gameplan. If Dillashaw approaches this fight with an optimal gameplan and hasn’t missed a step since 2019 this fight can be very competitive. However, that’s a lot to ask of somebody coming off such a long layoff, especially due to PEDs. I’ll take the fresher, rangier, more active fighter in Sandhagen to get a win in this spot and add a massive name to his resume.
A student at the University of Colorado and +EV bettor, Jonah will be contributing both MMA betting and DFS content at FTN. He’s studying journalism and sports media at CU, and this is his first job in the betting industry. Jonah is the MMA Dog of The Night Challenge champion amassing a 90% ROI in the contest and has been a profitable MMA bettor with tracked results. He is known for betting early lines and getting out ahead of the betting market, and looks forward to helping subscribers do the same!