Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are battling for a belt Saturday night. UFC 259 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a mammoth night for the MMA Leader which includes three title fights and four current UFC Champions. Perhaps the most intriguing fight on the card kicks off the championship triple-header with the Bantamweight Title on the line. The reigning belt holder; Petr Yan will look to defend his belt for the first time against the Jamaican-American from Long Island New York; Aljamain “The Funkmaster” Sterling.
Petr Yan (15-1-0)
The defending 135 pound champion, Petr Yan, enters his first title defense on a ten fight win streak and a perfect 7-0 record in the UFC. He rose up through the Bantamweight ranks quickly, notching wins over some big names including Urijah Faber and Jimmie Rivera. In July of 2020 Dana White took the UFC to the famed “Fight Island” for the first time (UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns) where the fought Jose Aldo for the Bantamweight strap. In what was undeniably his biggest test to date, Yan was able to finish the Brazilian legend via 5th round TKO. UFC 259 is shaping up to be a massive PPV event and Petr Yan can potentially leave a massive star.
Aljamain Sterling (19-3-0)
Fresh off of an incredible performance back in June, Aljamain Sterling rides into his first UFC championship opportunity with a ton of momentum. At UFC 250 Aljo was able to submit the red-hot Cory Sandhagen via 1st round rear-naked choke. The relative ease with which he was able to get his hand raised made him the obvious choice to challenge Petr Yan for the belt next.
The Funkmaster has won 5 consecutive bouts following a devastating knockout loss to Marlon Moraes back in December of 2017. During that run, his notable wins have been the submission over Sandhagen, and very impressive unanimous decision wins over Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz. Many people questioned whether or not Sterling would ever be able to reach the pinnacle of the sport after he was brutally finished by Moraes. He has a chance to silence all of the doubters on Saturday night.
Out of the trio of title fights at UFC 259, the matchup between Yan and Sterling is by far the most intriguing contrast of styles. Petr Yan loves to stand in the pocket and show off his technically superior boxing, while Sterling wants to keep the fight at range and use all kinds of kicks to make sure he’s able to do just that. If the fight should take place mostly on the feet, the range at which the strikes are taking place will likely determine the winner. Advantage on the feet: Petr Yan
Yan very much prefers to keep the fight standing and has the speed, elusiveness, and scrambling ability to do it against just about everyone in the world. “Aljo” is a Serra-Longo black-belt who loves to put his opponent on the mat with his outstanding wrestling, and then looks to finish with a plethora of masterful submissions. Petr Yan is going to have to make sure he doesn’t allow Sterling to put him on his back or “The Funkmaster” is very likely going to find a path to victory. Advantage on the ground: Aljo Sterling
This is such a difficult fight to predict because so much depends on where most of the fight takes place. I think Petr Yan would be very wise to try to attack the calves of Sterling and try to limit his movement on the feet. Aljo is so elusive when kickboxing and does a great job of staying away from his opponents power. If Sterling is able to find a way to take things to mat early, he may very well be able to submit Yan.
At the end of the day I think Aljamain Sterling will push the pace and eventually find his way into top control and win this fight on points. He is going to have to overcome some adversity though, Petr Yan is too good to not have his moments. Official Predicition: Sterling via Decision