5 Fights We Need to See After UFC Fight Night 210 – Bleacher Report

It was easy to miss amid all the excitement of the big Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin boxing match, but the UFC was also back in action Saturday with UFC Fight Night 210, a decent card out of its Apex facility in Las Vegas.
The headlining spot went to two world-class bantamweights, as American striker Cory Sandhagen took on Chinese knockout artist Song Yadong. It was a competitive fight for the duration, but Sandhagen, who was ranked six spots ahead of Song at No. 4, ultimately won by TKO after opening a nasty cut on his foe’s brow.
There weren’t any big names on the card outside of the main event, but we were still treated to some memorable performances from fighters with clear upside. In the co-main event, for example, Brazilian middleweight Gregory Rodrigues weathered a nasty cut, also across the brow, to stop streaking American knockout artist Chidi Njoukuani in Round 2.
Featherweight veteran Andre Fili also impressed on the main card, picking up a split-decision win over Bill Algeo in another extremely bloody fight. And on the undercard, Damon Jackson picked up an emotional win, stopping Pat Sabatini in just 69 seconds just a few days after the death of his brother.
Nobody will be nominating UFC Fight Night 210 for 2022’s Card of the Year honors, but it was a solid one all the same, and it opened the door to some exciting matchup options in some of the promotion’s best divisions.
Here are the fights we’re hoping to see when the dust has settled.

No. 4 bantamweight Cory Sandhagen entered the cage at UFC Fight Night 210 with decision losses to Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw in his previous two fights. Both setbacks were competitive, but he was still in pretty desperate need of a win.
He ultimately got the win he sought, slicing Song Yadong open with an elbow that ultimately forced the end of the fight at the end of Round 4. It wasn’t a perfect performance—he took some big shots in the early going—but he is back in the win column, and that’s what matters most.
From here, Sandhagen has quite a few interesting matchup options. Yet, the two most suitable opponents for him would seem to be Marlon “Chito” Vera and Merab Dvalishvili, who are riding wins over former UFC champions Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo, respectively.
He seems to recognize this.
“Chito and Merab are the obvious names,” he said post-fight. “Both of them pose very different challenges, two completely opposite fighters almost. I don’t really care, man. Give me one of them for Christmas.”
Those are both great fights, but one is clearly better than the other.
As good as Dvalishvili has proven himself to be, his recent win over Aldo was a bit of a stinker. Vera, meanwhile, is about as consistent as fighters get in terms of exciting performances—a trait he shares with Sandhagen.
In fact, it’s arguable that a Sandhagen vs. Vera fight is one of the most exciting matchups the UFC can make right now, not just at bantamweight, but in any division. Both guys are proven finishers with no aversion to wild, gritty fights, and the fact that they’re two of the best fighters in their division is the cherry on top.
It’s a good enough scrap to headline a Fight Night card, or even co-headline a pay-per-view with a big main event. Book it.

Song Yadong had a tough night at the office against Cory Sandhagen. Despite a strong start to the fight, the No. 10-ranked bantamweight contender was ultimately sliced open by an elbow and ruled out of the contest after the fourth round.
Really, it’s hard to imagine a more disappointing outcome for the Chinese knockout puncher.
Still, there are positives to be gleaned from his latest performance. For one, the mere fact that he was so competitive with a fighter like Sandhagen, who is clearly one of the best bantamweights on earth, is proof that he is not just a fringe contender, but a threat to any fighter in the weight class.
And at 24, he still has plenty of time to take his game to the next level.
From here, we’d like to see him matched up with Boston’s Rob Font.
Font is currently ranked No. 7 at bantamweight, and with decision losses to Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera in his last two outings, is surely desperate to get back to winning ways—particularly given that he is already 35.
A fight with Song makes sense from a rankings standpoint, and just like a potential Sandhagen vs. Vera fight, it looks like an excellent matchup. In fact, it’s just another piece of evidence that it is almost impossible to make a bad fight in the UFC bantamweight division.

UFC Fight Night 210 was not for the squeamish.
The card produced several nasty cuts and plenty of bloodshed—but no fight was as gruesome as the middleweight co-main-event clash between Gregory Rodrigues and Chidi Njoukuani.
Rodrigues ultimately won the fight by second-round TKO, but by the time the referee was intervening, he was sporting a gargantuan cut on his brow, right between his eyes. It was one of the grossest wounds we’ve seen in the Octagon in quite a while, which is saying something.
After his bloody win over Njoukuani, we’d like to see Rodrigues matched up with No. 15 middleweight contender Chris Curtis. That might seem like a bit of a jump in competition, but Rodrigues is now 4-1 in the UFC, with his lone loss coming via split decision against Armenian striker Armen Petrosyan. He’s also already 30 years old, so there’s no sense in treating him like some 20-year-old prospect. If we want to see where his ceiling is, it’s time to start giving him tough fights.
Curtis would be just that. Despite a decision loss to Jack Hermansson in his last fight—which was made worse by the bizarre temper tantrum he threw during the matchup—Curtis is extremely dangerous, as he proved by winning his first three bouts in the UFC.
The fight would give us a good sense of where both men belong in the middleweight pecking order, and it looks like a fun one on paper.

Andre Fili has been around for what feels like forever, and while he has endured some tough skids over the course of his time in the UFC, he has been consistent enough to keep his job with the promotion.
The 32-year-old Sacramento, California, resident picked up another crucial win on the UFC Fight Night 210 main card, defeating Bill Algeo by split-decision in a bloody featherweight battle. The victory separated him from two losses and a No Contest in his prior three appearances and ensured that his roster spot is safe for the time being.
Time will tell if he’s able to put together a win-streak—he hasn’t won back-to-back fights since 2019—but we’d like to see him try against Nate Landwehr.
Landwehr is a much newer face in the featherweight division than Fili, but after fun wins over Ludovit Klein and David Onama in his last two fights, he is ready for a fight with an established name.
It would be a tough fight for the both men, and again, it looks like it could be a fun one. Book it for a Fight Night main card or a pay-per-view undercard and trust that it will set the tone for whatever fights follow it.

Damon Jackson took another big step toward the featherweight Top 15 at UFC Fight Night 210, stopping Pat Sabatini in just 69 seconds. That the win occurred just days after Jackson lost his brother made it all the more impressive.
In victory, Jackson is now on a four-fight win-streak. Looking further back, he’s 8-2 in his past 10, with his only losses coming against No. 14 featherweight contender Ilia Topuria, and 2021 PFL featherweight champion Movlid Khaybulaev, who is easily one of the best featherweights outside the UFC.
All that to say that, while he has taken a handful of beatings in his career, he is clearly very good, and maybe even a future contender.
It’s time to give him a tough test.
Our pick is a fight with No. 15-ranked featherweight contender Alex Caceres.
Jackson and Caceres actually have quite a bit in common. They’ve both extremely experienced with a whopping 59 fights between them. And while they have fairly different fighting styles, they are both grapplers who have proven they can frustrate and even finish their foes on the feet.
The implication is that their pairing would probably be a fun one no matter where it unfolds. Even better, it would give Jackson the chance to prove he deserves a spot in the rankings, and Caceres the opportunity to prove that, even after 26 fights in the Octagon, he still has lots left in the tank.
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