UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Font – Winners and Losers

Get the lowdown on the real winners and losers of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Font.

By: Dayne Fox | 2 days ago

Another UFC Fight Night has come and gone and the Nashville crowd let the main event performers know exactly what they thought. While Cory Sandhagen utilized a LOT of wrestling to neutralize the dangerous Rob Font, the live audience was hoping for the exciting standup affair the contest was advertised to be. When they didn’t get it, the boo birds came out to shower the relatively boring decision. 

It’s hard to fault Sandhagen as his number one priority is to secure a win. Regardless, people pay for sport to be entertained, meaning that aspect can’t be completely ignored. That’s not only something for the fighters to take into account; that goes for the promotion too. The UFC is a business and their goal is to make money. Sandhagen may have won in the main event, but he was far from being the biggest winner on the night. In fact, given the circumstances, it may be appropriate to label him a loser on the evening. 

That said, who were the real winners and losers of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Font? Sure, 12 UFC fighters officially had their hand raised in victory, but that doesn’t always mean they are the true winners of the night, as we already discussed with regards to Sandhagen. Same with those who didn’t get their hand raised. Just like not all wins are created equal, not all losses are either. I’ll give you the lowdown on who the biggest winners and losers of the event were. I’ll limit it to three in each category, doing my best to avoid having the same combatants of a contest in both categories. Let’s dig in! 

UFC Fight Night – Winners 

Dustin Jacoby 

Entering the contest after dropping his last two UFC fights, there was a strong feeling in the air that Jacoby was on the decline. Sure, when one looks at how many MMA fights he has under his belt for someone who tends to fight as technically as he does, there shouldn’t be too much wear and tear on him. But that would be discounting his kickboxing career. If his performance against Kennedy Nzechukwu was any indication, Jacoby still has plenty left in the tank, securing the fourth first round finish of his UFC fight career. 

At 35, Jacoby’s age can’t be ignored in terms of projecting a potential falloff. However, it also needs to be remembered that the larger weight classes tend to have longer shelf lives. Plus, while it is true Jacoby entered on a losing streak, he was competitive in both those losses. Most believe he beat Khalil Rountree and he controlled Azamat Murzakanov most of the UFC fight. It was the big moments Murzakanov won. Jacoby still appears to be one of the better strikers at controlling a fight. As his win over Nzechukwu proved, he can still have big moments himself too. 

Diego Lopes 

While Lopes came up short in his first UFC fight, nobody came closer to hanging an L on Movsar Evloev than Lopes did. However, many believed he caught lightning in a bottle, that there was a good reason why he didn’t make his UFC debut until he was 27 fights into his MMA career. Lopes just gave all those people a big middle finger. Not only did he secure a first round submission against Gavin Tucker, he secured a flying triangle. Name the last time you weren’t impressed by any sort of flying finish? 

While I find it to be appropriate to question Lopes’ ceiling, it can’t be denied his flashy submission prowess is a welcome addition to the roster. There aren’t many submission specialists in this day and age; even fewer who look like they can hold their own in a standup battle. I don’t want to say Lopes is the complete package, but he hasn’t done anything to dissuade me from thinking he can’t be, at least not yet. At 28, he’s still young enough to have me believing he hasn’t peaked yet. 

Cody Durden 

I know a lot of people hear the word “scrappy” and think of it as an insult, but it shouldn’t be taken that way. That’s due to most associating the word with a lack of talent – which is a fair association – but it’s more about toughness and maximizing the skills one does possess. Durden is the definition of scrappy. I couldn’t tell you how in the world he survived the armbar Jake Hadley had locked in towards the end of the second round, but Durden not only survived, he escaped. In doing so, I managed to hang on for a clear decision win. 

Given Durden is a bit of a divisive character, I get the feeling many won’t like me pointing out Durden has the look of a dark horse in the flyweight division. Four consecutive wins will do that, which is also why I have Durden on the winner’s list ahead of Billy Quarantillo. I get that his level of competition hasn’t been the best, but he’s been beating who has been placed in front of him and I don’t get the feeling the UFC is attempting to protect him either. He’s stepped up on short notice a few times, including this UFC fight. Even if one doesn’t like Durden, they can’t deny his scrappiness. 

UFC Fight Night – Losers 

Jessica Andrade 

Make no mistake, Tatiana Suarez is a massive winner on the night. There’s a great chance she booked herself into a title fight with her win over Andrade. But where does Andrade stand? The former strawweight champion has proven to be one of the UFC’s most dependable soldiers, stepping in on short notice several times over the years. While it has worked out for her before, it hasn’t recently. Earlier in the year, she came up short against Erin Blanchfield. Now, Suarez sent Andrade to her third consecutive loss, all of those losses coming before the final bell. 

Jessica Andrade reacts after the loss by submission to Tatiana Suarez during UFC Nashville.
IMAGO / Christopher Hanewinckel It was not a good night for Jessica Andrade

Perhaps Andrade is slowing down. At 31, she’s still relatively young, but she has put a lot of wear and tear on her body over the years. Perhaps she’s simply had a series of bad stylistic matchups. Either way, Andrade needs to operate with more caution if she hopes to maximize what she has left of her career, whether it’s how she fights or the UFC fights she accepts. Given this is the first three-fight losing streak of her career, perhaps it will be a wake up call for her. Then again, her reckless nature may blind her to that issue. 

Ignacio Bahamondes 

That was a UFC fight Bahamondes should have won. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ludovit Klein. Klein had a fantastic game plan and executed it to perfection. But Bahamondes opened the UFC fight like someone who expected the contest to be a cakewalk. He got a rude awakening pretty quickly and was forced to make adjustments on the fly. The problem was that he was forced to dig himself out of a hole by that point as he had already dropped the first round and was forced to press. 

Given the amount of fights he has under his belt, it’s easy to forget Bahamondes turns 26 later this month. He’s still young. Despite that, I can’t help but feel he needed to make a rapid ascent up the lightweight ladder given it’s hard to believe he can continue to cut to 155 on his 6’3” frame for too long. Watching him against Klein, I think the move to 170 should be initiated now. He didn’t have the same zip in his strikes Klein did. Besides, Klein could tell him all about how much better he feels no that he’s not cutting to 145. The opportunity is there for Bahamondes to turn this into a learning opportunity. 

Raoni Barcelos 

At one point, Barcelos was the golden boy of pretty much all the MMA analysts across the interwebs. Possessing solid wrestling, tight grappling, and explosive striking, he had it all. Well… except for youth. Barcelos was already in his 30’s by the time he reached the UFC and the organization wasn’t going to do him any favors. He was forced to work his way up from the bottom of the division, allowing his physical prime to be spent fighting opponents he should have been allowed to hop, skip, and jump over. By the time Barcelos earned the right to fight those opponents, his prime was over. 

If I’m to be fair, the UFC did try to give him big jumps in competition, only for injury to derail those contests. And to the 36-year-old Barcelos’ credit, he put on a competitive UFC fight with Kyler Phillips. The first two rounds went to Phillips thanks to him delivering the bigger moments in otherwise competitive rounds and Barcelos arguably took the final round. But he has also lost four of his last five. Given the level of competition Barcelos has faced in that stretch, he shouldn’t be in danger of being released. But a drop in the level of competition is certainly warranted.  

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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