No. 4-ranked Sandhagen entered the fight looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to the top two contenders in the division: former champions Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw. No. 10-ranked Song was riding a three-fight winning streak and looking to jump in the rankings.
Sandhangen pawed with his jab early in the opening round before changing levels looking for a takedown. Song defended the attempt and they separated. Sandhangen switched stances often looking for an angle. He worked to get the fight to the ground a second time and Song stuffed the attempt and gained top position. He took Sandhagen’s back, but Sandhagen stood and got free. Late in the frame, Song’s jab began finding a home.
Song mainly unloaded with power shots. A left-hand counter knocked Sandhagen back. Sandhagen changed levels and secured a takedown, but Song immediately got back to his feet. An elbow opened up a nasty cut over Song’s right eye. The second round ended with Song pressing the action and the two exchanging.
The action remained high in the third round. Song landed a combination early and pressed forward. Sandhagen continued to land his jab and mixed in takedown attempts. Sandhagen had a higher output.
The doctor came in to check the cut after the second and third rounds. Heading into the fourth, the doctor spoke with referee Herb Dean to keep an eye on the cut.
A minute into the fourth round, Song caught a kick and put Sandhagen on his back. Sandhagen rolled and worked his way back to his feet. While in the clinch, Sandhagen tripped Song, but Song quickly bounced back to his feet. Sandhagen secured a takedown and peppered Song with short punches to the body and head.
Song’s eye was badly swollen with a large gash splitting his eyebrow. The ringside doctor called a halt to the fight. After the fight was stopped, Song stated that he couldn’t see out of the eye.
“Song’s good. I knew he was going to be good. I hate that it ended that way. I think that he deserved a fifth round,” Sandhagen said following the TKO win. “I wanted to see the fifth round. I kind of want to see the scorecards to see if I was winning or not… I won. I cut him badly in the first, and I’m happy about it.”
Sandhagen would like to get another fight in before the end of the year, and he wants one of the ‘top guys.’
“I want to fight someone at the top,” he said. “Give me someone for Christmas.”