The clash between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan might be one of the most interesting battles of the entire season in the MMA world. For us, it is the most anticipated at the entire UFC 273, and we simply can’t wait for this bout to begin. The last time these two guys met, Yan was dominating, and he was on his way to another confident title defense, but one wild moment saw him suffering a disqualification. That is how Sterling won the belt. After that, the American didn’t enter the ring, while on the other side, Yan won the interim bantamweight title.
Aljamain Sterling (+350) (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) had certain neck injuries following the surgery of the same, which is why he had to withdraw from the previously arranged bouts against Yan on two occasions. Many believe that he wanted to buy more time, but we aren’t here to discuss rumors.
What we do know is that Sterling possesses excellent wrestling knowledge and that he has extraordinary submission skills. His long and athletic physique allows him to quickly slip away from his rival and find a weak spot. Sterling isn’t some terrific puncher, and only two of his wins came via KO, while eight were after submission and nine via decision.
One loss was against Marlon Moraes via TKO, and two after split decisions. At the moment, Sterling has six straight victories, and during that streak, he beat guys like Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhos, and Cory Sandhagen.
Petr Yan (-480) (16-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is arguably the most dominant fighter in one division. We really think that. The way he earned a chance to win the title and later annihilated Jose Aldo in the bout for the belt was equally impressive and even better than Adesayna’s or Ngannou’s.
Yan has one of the most terrifying Muay Thai combos in the entire UFC. He mixes kicks and punches often, slipping from one side to another, with the rivals constantly finding themselves dazzled by this guy’s speed and the power of his strikes. Once he gets into the rhythm, there is no way of stopping him.
The way he beat Aldo and Sandhagen are the perfect examples. Though he did open the bout vs. Sandman a bit slower, but once he reached the working temperature, we saw him punish each mistake his rival made. And to be honest, he looked as if he was at 70% of his abilities.
Sterling’s biggest weapon in this matchup was supposed to be wrestling, but we saw in the first meeting that Yan obliterated the American in that area. Sterling had no way to establish any control, and he was often thrown to the ground like a rag doll. Overall, the Funk Master didn’t have the slightest chance of winning that bout, but Yan’s recklessness prevented the Russian from earning another easy win.
We expect him to be more focused in this event and more composed in critical situations. The difference between him and Sterling is massive, and we don’t see in which way the American could win. Our pick here would be Yan to win via stoppage.
Pick: Yan wins via stoppage
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.