March 24, 2023 1:35 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Marlon Vera vs Cory Sandhagen at UFC on ESPN 43

Click here for today’s sports betting tips from our expert analysts!


When is UFC on ESPN 43? Saturday 25th March, 2023 - 21:00 start (UK)

Where is UFC on ESPN 43? AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC on ESPN 43? Click here to buy tickets for UFC Fight Night

What channel is UFC on ESPN 43 on? BT Sport 2

Where can I stream UFC on ESPN 43? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


Marlon Vera (20-7-1) continues his noisy charge towards bantamweight gold. If he continues his performances, it will not be long before he gets his shot. His last lost was a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo (2020) who has now bowed out of the game. Since then, he has earnt a unanimous decision of his own against Davey Grant (2021), front kicked Frankie Edgar (2021) into oblivion, outpointed Rob Font (2022) and is coming off his most impressive performance – knocking out one of the best 135 pounders ever Dominick Cruz with a glorious head kick.

Cory Sandhagen (15-4) has also made a habit of finishing the elite although he is 3-3 in his last six. That is because he has been up against the best in the division. He got submitted by the current champ Aljamain Sterling (2020) but responded with two spectacular knockouts. He spinning wheel kicked Marlon Moraes (2020) and flying knee’d Edgar (2021). However, he then got narrowly outpointed by TJ Dillashaw (2021) and Petr Yan (2021). His next fight was another tough match up, but he proved his class by TKOing Yadong Song back in September.


The bantamweight division continues to churn out the highest level on Mixed Martial Arts. Sandhagen has shared the octagon with better competition. However, Vera continues to improve and has forced himself into the title picture.

They are both strikers by trade with slick jiu-jitsu in the locker. Vera is the stronger grappler and Sandhagen is the more polished striker which was on full display in that TKO over the dangerous Song.

His technique is exceptional leveraging his height and reach without slowing down whether it is three rounds or five. Vera is the more powerful striker, but if he starts slow again, Sandhagen will be able to download the data he needs to dictate the range.

As we saw in the Cruz fight, Vera can cover the distance and negate the movement by threatening the knockout in all eight limbs. He is lethal from all angles, and he can gain Sandhagen’s respect by tagging him early.

We expect a striking masterclass here with both guys displaying a full arsenal from both stances. Sandhagen’s movement will be crucial to avoiding the knockout power for the first three rounds and he will be favoured to increase the pace in the championship rounds.

Vera has better cardio than people think and we expect a thrilling five rounds. Vera will cause more damage, but Sandhagen’s pace and volume should sway the judges.

Prediction: Sandhagen via Decision - CLICK HERE FOR PARIMATCH'S WELCOME OFFER (BET £5, GET £30 IN BONUSES!)

Value bet: Vera via Decision

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