TJ v. Sandhagen prediction and breakdown

Who do you think is winning this weekend and why?

I’m picking Sandhagen, but with only about 51% confidence. I think this is a very difficult fight to predict and could easily imagine a y’all must’ve forgot type performance from TJ.

Factors for Sandhagen

  • TJ is a great striker. But, I think Sandhagen is slightly better and will use his range will.
  • Sandhagen is active, and on a hot streak. He has the confidence that big wins can get you.
  • He might be able to time those knees. I just rewatched the Marlon fight. He his some of the knees on Marlon, too.
  • I personally believe that TJ was on EPO for his entire UFC run, and that his style required endurance that EPO provided. I think that if he’s not using PEDs, it will affect his style, his confidence, and his cardio. Couple that with Sandhagen’s really effective body work and he might be able to slow TJ down.
  • Ring rust: TJ hasn’t fought in 2 years, and his last fight was a loss. I do think TJ is uniquely able to handle pressure. But, ring rust is usually real.

Factors for TJ

  • Wrestling. Corey KOd Edgar, but we don’t know how he would have done against Frankie’s wrestling had the knee not landed. TJ is one of the better MMA wrestlers we’ve ever seen and his ground control is quite good. (That said, he is not the submission threat that Aljo is. So, he might get Corey down, but it’s less clear whether he can finish him on the ground).

  • Footwork. Sandhagen has great footwork. But, he sometimes plants his feet and admires his work after throwing kicks or combos. TJ can take advantage of this with striking or wrestling.

  • Fight fight experience and adjustments. TJ has been in there with Cruz, Cody, and Barrao. He has more experience fighting at the highest level and making necessary adjustments.

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ttt.

I disagree with this being a toss-up. Sandhagen is properly favored. He’s younger, rangier, and his footwork is great. TJ downplaying the PED usage is a HUGE red flag for me with regards to where TJ’s head is at. The only way I can see him winning is by using and mixing in his wrestling, which I don’t see happening. I think Sandy’s ranginess will make him very difficult to get down and keep down with any effectiveness. On the feet, I don’t see TJ knocking out Sandhagen, or outpointing him to a Dec.

I got Sandhagen by 2nd or 3rd Round finish.

yes, for sure.

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Word. I agree that Sandhagen should be the favorite.

But, the Aljo fight is still on my mind, and I’m definitely concerned that Sandhagen sets his feet too often, which can lead to the takedown. TJ’s takedowns against Linekar were some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Absolutely rooting for Sandhagen to destroy him.

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sandhagIN

I hope Sandhagen smashes him. I’m really looking forward to it

I said this in another thread, but I think the limited crowd will play in Sandhagen’s favor as he keeps talking about his mindset. TJ fought before the pandemic in front of large crowds. Maybe this isn’t a big deal, but TJ can’t feed off a screaming crowd full of EPO when he presses forward. Didn’t Dana say like a couple of hundred can attend?

Ring rust, no EPO mixed in with the atmosphere of a sparring match are all tricky factors here to choose.

I think my only bet will be that this ends under 5 rounds. I don’t see it going to decision as both of these guys really need to go for a finish to get that #1 contender spot or just move up in the ranks in general.

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Good post. Thanks for the insight.

This is my favorite matchup of the year so far. I could be dead wrong but I think TJ wins. Good God am I excited for this fight.

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It’s such a great fight.

These threads used to get much more action. It took a lot of effort to get my Conor v. Dustin breakdown replies. I hope this forum can return to being a place where people like talking about interesting fights!

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Such a great fight and I think your breakdown for this fight is absolutely outstanding. I actually texted a buddy of mine who’s not a huge fight guy to watch this one.

And I could not agree more. I’m not so much into what a fighter says or posts on his IG account, I’d rather talk the actual matchup. My goodness I’m pumped for this fight.

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This is the technical fight of the year so far for me. Really excited for this. Any staredown shots yet? Really wondering how the size difference will look.

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Man I’ve been wanting to analyze this but I haven’t had time to watch tape this week. Your OP was pretty accurate. TJ is much more defensively responsible on the feet. One thing I don’t remember seeing from Sandhagen (again, didn’t watch tape) is striking from different ranges. Up close we know he has good knees to the body, and has the ability and length to use the Thai plum to land knees to the head. We also know he’s great from the outside and can knock you out with a kick. I just don’t remember ever seeing him at boxing range, in the pocket.

TJ can fuck you up with kicks from the outside, or he can knock you out in the pocket with straight or looping punches. He also has good clinch work, so he fares above average at any distance. His wrestling will absolutely be a factor, and Corey knows that. Coming off a long layoff, TJ might be more likely to use it. Sandhagen uses angles just as well as TJ and is a knockout threat with his hands, elbows, shins and knees. Is he a bigger KO threat than TJ? Hard to say. I think prime TJ has a speed advantage, he knocked out Garbrandt who is maybe the fastest guy I’ve seen compete in the UFC.

Since TJ has been out it’s hard to say how he looks but motherfucker this is one of the more intriguing and exciting matchups in recent memory.

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I was hoping you’d chime in! Good stuff – I agree on all counts. One thing TJ does nicely is double up punches while switching stances. There were some points in the Marlon fight where I could imagine a guy like TJ landing great combos and Sandhagen backed out of an exchange.

TJ is in another all-time great free fight. Him v. Cruz is, alongside Cain v. JDS and Forest v. Bonnar, probably the most important free fight ever. This is on the short list of best free fights UFC has ever put on.

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TJ is listed at 5’6 and Sandhagen listed at 5’11. I don’t think TJ has fought anyone with that much size on him. I imagine sandhagen will tower over him and TJ may have difficulty getting into range. TJ likes to use deceptive off side head kicks but is sandhagen too tall? Such a great fight!! Pumped!

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I saw a short vid and Cory TOWERED over him. Granted CS was wearing shoes and TJ was barefoot but the height difference was stunning to me. I was not expecting that.

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Gonna be a great fight. I think Sandhagen has the edge due to his massive reach

Interesting points about reach.

I will say that Cory used his reach well against Marlon most of the time, but was often inside range. Again, Cory will likely approach TJ very differently because of their different skills sets. But, I think that’s at least worth noting.

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