In a night full of great action at UFC Lincoln, Cory Sandhagen was the breakout star, with a gutsy performance in the cage against veteran Iuri Alcantara.
Lincoln, NB — Before the round was even over, the opening frame between Cory Sandhagen and Iuri Alcantara at UFC Lincoln was being called “round of the year.” It’s certainly a candidate. Sandhagen, with viewers around the world grimacing, gutted his way through an arm-bar attempt by Alcantara. The submission attempt had his arm bent at an unthinkable angle, and no one would have faulted him for tapping.
He didn’t. Instead, he gutted it out, coming back to rain down fire and brimstone (more accurately, punches and elbows) on an exhausted Alcantara. The Brazilian would survive the round, but the writing was on the wall. Were it not for a referee who seemed obsessed with bloodlust (the official was yanked from his other assigned bouts on the night), the fight would have been over much sooner. Instead Alcantara took an extended beating in round two, with Sandhagen at one point motioning as if to say “what else do I have to do to this guy?”
Following the win, Sandhagen discussed the damage incurred to his arm, and getting back in the cage later in the year. With his arm wrapped, and nose still bloodied.
“I knew Iuri was going to be wild in the beginning. I knew I was going to have to weather some storms,” he said of his expectations coming into his UFC Lincoln fight. “I wanted to do better, but I want to do better even in the fights where I do really well. I went into that fight telling myself ‘I’m not losing this fight, I do not care.’ So when he had me in that [arm-bar], I did not care. I felt it pop, I felt it break, it didn’t matter to me, I wasn’t going to lose.”
Ouch. Yet despite the reference to the arm breaking, Sandhagen doesn’t believe it actually did. And he insists there was “no pain. I just didn’t want to get choked. He was about to have a triangle either if I rolled one way too far, or the other way too far.”
So he gutted it out, because “I just didn’t want to get choked. When I got on top, I knew he had nothing left.” His coaches reaffirmed that between rounds, telling Sandhagen “he’s done, he’s done.” Soon enough, Alcantara was.
As for the arm, all wrapped up, “it’s not messed up. It popped, and it went straight [back in]. It’s not broken. I’ve broken my elbows before, and it’s definitely not broken,” Sandhagen said. Then corrected himself: “I don’t want to say definitely, but hopefully it’s not broken.”
Yet with his mindset, it doesn’t matter. “I come into fights being like ‘this is my car that I can total.’ If the car gets totalled, the car gets totalled. I’m just going to walk out with my hands up, I don’t care.”
Now, no doubt, there will be come time off to heal. Yet Sandhagen is aiming to get back in the octagon in December. “One more this year. I’d like to be on a big card, where I can really get my name out there,” he stated.
While Sandhagen’s leaving Lincoln with a few extra stitches and a banged up arm, there’s one other thing he’s hoping to take with him: “a pocket full of cash.”
Catch the full UFC Lincoln press scrum with Cory Sandhagen above!