Dillashaw set as underdog in return to UFC octagon

T.J. Dillashaw celebrates. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will be seeking redemption on Saturday night when he returns to the octagon for the first time in over two years to face rising star Cory Sandhagen as a +160 underdog on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Dillashaw last saw action in January 2019, when he suffered a stunning opening-round loss to Henry Cejudo in his bid for the UFC flyweight crown. The 35-year-old American also faces a huge challenge to rehabilitate his checkered reputation going into Saturday night's bout at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Surpassing all expectations by claiming the UFC bantamweight crown with a spectacular upset victory over Renan Barao as a massive +550 underdog at online betting sites at UFC 173, Dillashaw successfully defended the title on three occasions over his two reigns as champion. That includes a decisive first-round KO win over Cody Garbrandt at UFC 227 as a -135 wager, which also also earned Dillashaw a fifth career Performance of the Night bonus.

However, failed drug tests following that fight and his subsequent defeat at Cejudo's hands in January 2019 resulted in Dillashaw relinquishing the UFC bantamweight belt, and being handed a two-year suspension from the octagon. Those events have overshadowed Dillashaw's otherwise impressive track record, with 11 of his 16 career wins coming inside the distance, including five finishes inside five minutes.

While Dillashaw aims to rebuild his career, Cory Sandhagen will have his sights set on earning a title shot when he steps into the octagon on Saturday as a heavy -195 favourite. Sandhagen vaulted to No. 2 among UFC bantamweight contenders following his KO victory over Frankie Edgar just 28 seconds into their clash at UFC Vegas 18 as a -400 favourite.

That marked Sandhagen's second finish in as many outings, and also earned him a second straight Performance of the Night bonus. Overall, the 29-year-old has racked up a 7-1 record in eight contests since joining the UFC back in 2018. His lone defeat during that stretch came against the current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, who handed Sandhagen a first-round loss by submission at UFC 250.

Elsewhere on the UFC Fight Night odds for Saturday, Kyler Philips vies for a fifth straight win as he battles fellow bantamweight Raulian Paiva as heavy -290 chalk. As well, Darrick Minner takes on Darren Elkins as a -150 favourite in featherweight action, while Miranda Maverick looks to continue her climb up the UFC women's flyweight rankings as she takes on Maycee Barber, also as a -150 wager.

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