This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 273, the bantamweight title was on the line. Aljamain Sterling (21-3) was looking to legitimize his championship as he was taking on the interim champion Petr Yan (16-3).
The two men fought back at UFC 259 last March and Sterling won the title by disqualification. Due to the nature of the win, there were a lot of questions surrounding the legitimacy of Sterling’s championship. He was looking to shut up the haters on Saturday.
First round was incredibly close and I personally gave the first to Petr Yan. The second and third rounds were dominated by Sterling with his ability to get Yan down and get his back. The second round was so dominant that I actually gave Sterling a 10-8.
Without question, Yan won the final two rounds at UFC 273 with his ability to control Sterling. It all came down to how the first round was scored. I personally had the fight a draw and Dana White said that he scored the fight overall for Sterling. In the end, two judges gave the fight and the bantamweight title to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273.
What’s next after UFC 273?
Regardless of how you feel about the decision, it’s a loss for Petr Yan and his first legitimate loss in the UFC. Yes, he lost to Sterling last year, but it was by disqualification so you could essentially say he beat himself. I don’t view that fight as a loss to Sterling.
Now that he’s lost, what’s next for Yan? Yan said that he was hoping the UFC would book the third fight, but Dana White has already shot that down voicing that TJ Dillashaw will likely get the next shot at the bantamweight title.
A fight that should happen in my opinion is Yan against Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Merab has won five fights in a row and he’s teammates with Sterling. Yan had a backstage run in with Merab and Sterling prior to UFC 273 so there’s already bad blood there. Given the place of both men in the division, it’s a fight that makes perfect sense to me.