This past Saturday, Sandhagen took on rising prospect Song Yadong in the main event of UFC Vegas 60 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yadong, a former opponent of Vera, got off to a solid start, connecting with some big shots early in the contest. However, a vicious up elbow from Sandhagen opened a gnarly cut above Yadong’s left eye. He successfully snapped his two-fight losing skid when the referee called off the bout due to a doctor’s stoppage after the fourth round.
Following the impressive win, Sandhagen took the chance to call out fifth-ranked bantamweight contender Vera and third-ranked 135-pound fighter Merab Dvalishvili in the post-fight octagon interview.
“Yeah, one of those guys (‘Chito’ Vera and Merab),” Sandhagen said. “‘Chito’ and Merab are the top two guys. I don’t want to get left out. Last time I got left out, I had to fight down in the rankings. I want to fight someone at the top.”
When asked about when he would like to make his return, Sandhagen proposed the holiday season right before the New Year.
“Give me someone for Christmas,” he said.
During the UFC Fight Night 210 post-fight press conference, Sandhagen reiterated his call for the matchup and gave his take on the two potential opponents.
“No, not really. I think as a martial artist, I try not to have many opinions about anything,” Sandhagen said. “I live in a way where I just more or less try to go with the flow and that life give me opportunities, and I take them. Chito and Merab are the obvious names.
“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.”
‘Chito’ Vera Is Down To Fight Sandhagen
Vera shared his thoughts on the idea of competing against Sandhagen. He does not currently have a fight booked yet and is coming off a brutal head kick knockout of former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz which he scored last month.
“Well, if he want it, he can get it,” Vera said. “I’m not shying away from any fight. I’m a fighter, I fight anybody, I want to be a world champion. If I want to get there and get the belt, I don’t run away from no one. He want it, I can get it. Or, I don’t know, whatever the f*** the UFC wants.
“I’m ready to go right now.”
Sandhagen Admitted Yadong Had Him Hurt Early
Yadong came out firing from the get-go. With his ability to strike fast, he wobbled ‘Sandman’ early in the bout, but Sandhagen did well to recover and managed to turn things around.
He admitted he was in a dangerous position in the first round and explained how he drew on his experience to get through it.
“Pretty hurt. Yeah, he definitely rocked me,” Sandhagen added. “It took me a second to get my wits underneath me. I was seeing blurry for like 30 seconds and then kinda throughout the fight here and there. But, that fight against Yan where I got dropped for the first time helped me get through that moment. I fought through it because I had dealt with it before.
“Against (Petr) Yan, I didn’t deal with it as well as I did tonight because I had never been through it and I had been through it now so, I’m happy about that.”