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Cory Sandhagen punches Raphael Assuncao during their Bantamweight Bout at UFC 241 at Honda Center on Aug. 17, 2019 in Anaheim, California.
Cory Sandhagen punches Raphael Assuncao during their Bantamweight Bout at UFC 241 at Honda Center on Aug. 17, 2019 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images via AFP.

Elite bantamweights are set to engage in a little old ultraviolence when Cory Sandhagen meets Marlon Vera in UFC San Antonio's main event. Read on for our top Vera vs. Sandhagen UFC picks based on the odds from our best sportsbooks.

With Merab Dvalishvili unwilling to face teammate Aljamain Sterling for the 135-pound strap, a stirring performance by the Sandhagen-Vera winner could vault them into the title picture. This is especially true for Vera, who finds himself ranked a division third following a vicious head-kick knockout of former division overlord Dominick Cruz.

Sandhagen’s title quest may include a few more pitstops, but a flashy or violent finish of “Chito” could put him on a short list of contenders that includes Sean O’Malley. The last time “The Sandman” graced the Octagon he did his best Razor Ramon impression, completely carving up Song Yadong’s face en route to a TKO cut stoppage.

In what could very well be a title eliminator, here are our best UFC San Antonio Vera vs. Sandhagen bets (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Vera vs. Sandhagen pick

Sandhagen (-155 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a very tough fight to call, and considering how close this matchup is there’s some value in backing the underdog. However, in a battle between durable bantamweights with venomous finishing ability, back the one who's more active.

The name of the game for Sandhagen is pure volume. Expect him to outwork Vera for at least three out of the five rounds to claim victory. Sandhagen is the far busier striker with 6.15 significant strikes landed per minute to Vera’s 4.28, and with “Chito’s” tendency to start a bit slower, he may actually give away a couple of rounds early, something he can't afford to do against the division's upper echelon.

There’s always a chance Vera ends things prematurely with a hellacious combo, but Sandhagen proved himself extremely durable, even against the elite at 135 pounds (no KO/TKO losses in 19 career fights). Sheer activity may be enough to distinguish Sandhagen from Vera, and he should have his hand raised after 25 grueling minutes.

Vera vs. Sandhagen best odds

DraftKings (Sandhagen to win -155)

Sandhagen -155-164-170-160-182
Vera +135+138+140+135+136

For those backing Sandhagen, DraftKings offers the best odds. Also, despite the collective firepower scheduled to be in the cage, there's some value backing the fight to go see the judge’s scorecards (-145 at FanDuel). In Vera and Sandhagen’s combined 11 losses, only one of those defeats came inside the distance.

If you favor the underdog, snatch up Vera +140 at BetMGM.

Vera vs. Sandhagen fight info

  • Date: Saturday, March 25, 7 p.m. ET (main card)
  • Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio TX

Vera-Sandhagen pick made 3/24/2023 at 10:33 p.m. ET

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