Exclusive: Cory Sandhagen Believes He Has ‘A Lot More Ways to Win’ Against Chito Vera: ‘He Has a Puncher’s Chance’

Cory Sandhagen will take on streaking bantamweight contender Marlon 'Chito' Vera at The APEX on February 18th

Cory Sandhagen

Cory Sandhagen will step back into the Octagon on February 18th to take on No. 4 ranked contender, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera.

Winner in three of his last five, Sandhagen (15-4-0) will look to get back into title contention this February when he returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for a showdown with streaking bantamweight contender, Chito Vera. The last time we saw ‘Sandman’ inside the Octagon, he earned a fourth-round TKO over Song Yadong in September. Taking a moment away from training, Sandhagen sat down with James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive to discuss his thoughts on the 135-pound showdown scheduled for next month and the importance of taking the right amount of time off in between fights. 

“Yeah, this is good. This is what I was asking for. This is what I had heard rumors of a long long time ago. Even before they offered that fight to fight him in November, I was hearing it was going to happen in February anyway. I’m happy with it. It’s exactly what I expected which is nice when you’re going into combat and war. I got what I was asking for, so no complaints.”

As far as when Sandhagen learned he would be stepping into the Octagon to face Vera, the Elevation Fight Team product revealed that he typically finds out when the rest of the world does. 

“I usually find out pretty close to when you guys find out, to be honest with you. I hear things like, ‘Hey, this is what they’re doing. This is probably what they’re gonna do,’ but I don’t really take too much of that into account because they kinda do what they want anyways. I got my paper like a day or two before everyone else finds out. That’s kinda how it works.”

Stylistically, Cory Sandhagen believes he holds all the cards. The only area where it could get dicey is in the striking where Chito Vera has displayed incredible power on more than one occasion. Even so, ‘Sandman’ firmly believes that Vera’s only way to win this bout is via a puncher’s chance. If Sandhagen avoids the big shots, he leaves Las Vegas the victor in his opinion. 

“I like it from a style perspective. I think I have a lot more ways to win as I typically do just because I am a very technical guy. I think the way Chito’s been winning isn’t a highly reliable way of winning and what I mean by that is he’s losing most of his fights and then catches the person. The guy obviously must hit hard, but also, the people that he’s also knocking out and dropping are people that have shown signs of that happening fairly easy for them anyways.

“Whereas me, I have a very good chin on me. I don’t think that his puncher’s chance is a super reliable way to win. I think that as far as wrestling and grappling goes, I have the nod there. In the striking, like I said, he has a puncher’s chance, but as far as being technical and having more tools, being more athletic, and having a more creative style, I think that all of those have the nod in my favor also. As long as I don’t get hit with any hard sh*t, I’ll walk out of the cage a winner.”

Cory Sandhagen on Trash-Talk With Chito Vera and Fighting in a Smaller Octagon

Since the news broke that Cory Sandhagen would be stepping in to face Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera in a battle of top-five bantamweights, the two have been at odds with one another on social media. Addressing the trash-talk between the two, Sandhagen revealed that he has no issues with taking a few verbal jabs at one another, but is frustrated when fighters blatantly lie or tell “half-narratives” when taking a dig at their opponent. 

“A little bit. I don’t really like when fighters tell half-narratives. I don’t really appreciate when… We’re professional fighters, man. I don’t think Chito’s scared to fight me. I don’t think I’m scared to fight him. I don’t think that any of these guys are afraid to fight each other. My own belief. That might be a projection of mine, but I don’t believe you’re in the right sport if you’re afraid to fight people.”

When it comes to social media, few do it better than the division’s No. 1 ranked contender, Sean O’Malley. Sharing his thoughts on the matchup between Sandhagen and Vera, ‘Sugar’ suggested that the fight taking place inside the smaller 25-foot Octagon at the APEX would be a disadvantage to Sandhagen. Addressing O’Malley’s comments, ‘Sandman’ said:

“I think that Sean’s projecting his feelings about fighting at the APEX for me because me and him, more or less, have similar styles cause we’re built the same, but I don’t really mind fighting in a small cage. I actually appreciate the challenge of it. I like having the guys get closer to me. It makes fighting in a bigger cage that much easier. That’s his projections, but I don’t really mind. I appreciate the challenge of it.”

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