Aljamain Sterling edges Petr Yan by Split Decision at UFC 273

Feb 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) and Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) fight during their bantamweight bout during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Sterling won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In the co-main event of UFC 273 the bantamweight title was on the line. The reigning champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3) was taking on the interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan (16-2) in a rematch.

These two previously fought back at UFC 259 when Yan was the champion. In that fight, Sterling got off to a pretty decent start. However, he ran into a brick wall in the middle rounds and that wall was Petr Yan.

Yan started dominating the fight and looked like he was on his way to winning a lopsided fight. However, Yan hit Sterling with an illegal knee in the fourth round and the fight was waved off. Because it was an intentional foul, Yan was disqualified and Sterling was awarded the championship.

Due to neck surgery, we haven’t seen Sterling since. However, we did see Yan back at UFC 267. That night he fought Cory Sandhagen for the interim title and outclassed Sandhagen on the feet to win a decision and the title.

UFC 273 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 273 title fight kicked off without a touch of the gloves. Body kick from Sterling kicks off the striking. Pressure from Yan here as Sterling circles on the outside. Low kick from Sterling. Yan plotting forward and Sterling shoots for a takedown.

Beautiful sprawl from Yan and they are back to striking. High kick attempt missed from Sterling. Lots of forward pressure from Yan and he’s gauging the distance here. Jab lands for Yan. Body kick lands for Sterling and he doubles it up.

Sterling continues to circle on the outside and he eats a kick from Yan. Both men are really just feeling the other out halfway through the first round. Nice 1-2 lands for Petr Yan. Both men wildly miss with big shots.

More pressure from Yan who is doing a great job of controlling the octagon. Two left hooks just miss for Yan. Nice step in elbow from Sterling. Yan is just walking him down here. Sterling goes for a takedown but nothing home and Yan lands a nice shot as the round ends. Nothing big happening in round one, but likely goes to Yan at UFC 273.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 273 and the first could have gone to either man. Sterling opens the second with a couple of kicks and Yan goes right back to pressuring him. Huge body kick lands for Yan. Side kick to the leg for Yan. Sterling shoots and again, Yan just shrugs him off.

Sterling goes for another takedown and he gets it. Not only does he get it, but he’s immediately in the mount. Sterling quickly gets to the back of Yan and he locks in the body triangle. Yan is in deep trouble early in the second round.

Sterling trying soften Yan up to open up the submission. However, Yan is defending well for now. This is a battle of the hands here as Sterling continues to look for a rear-naked choke and Yan looks to defend.

Huge shots from Sterling and he looks like he has the choke. However, Yan defends well but Sterling is still in the mount. Big shots from Sterling from the top and he’s making a statement here in the second round.

Under a minute to go and Sterling gets his back again. Sterling continues to land nice shots and the round is coming to a close. Dominant second round for Sterling and it’s easily a 10-8 at UFC 273.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 273 and all the momentum is with Sterling. Yan goes right back with big pressure to start the third and he lands two big kicks. Powerful low kick from Yan and then he lands a huge body kick. He’s being very aggressive here in the third.

Sterling shoots for a takedown, but Yan defends well. Now it’s Sterling coming forward with the pressure and Sterling gets the takedown. Almost immediately, Sterling gets the back of Yan and he’s starting to work the choke again.

Yan tries prying Sterling’s legs to break the body triangle, but Sterling is keeping it locked in. Now Yan tries spinning into him, but Sterling isn’t letting him go anywhere. Dominant ground control here from Aljamain Sterling.

Entering the final minute of the third round and Sterling is still riding the back of Yan. Impressed Yan has survived, but even more impressed at the ground control from Sterling. The third round comes to a close and another dominant one in the books for Sterling at UFC 273.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC 273 and Yan needs to really turn things around. Yan takes the center to start the fourth round and he immediately throws a big combination. Sterling might be hurt and Yan is all over him.

Sterling gets out of there but Yan is stalking him here. Huge low kick from Yan forces a takedown attempt Sterling. Yan defends well and actually has the back of Sterling against the fence now. Nice knees to the thigh from Yan.

Yan breaks the clinch and lands a nice knee. The two come together and Sterling gets a body lock and hops on the back of Yan. However, he’s too high and Yan shakes him off. Sterling attacks a triangle, but Yan breaks through and he settles into the guard.

Big shots from Yan and Sterling tries to scramble. Yan has the back of Sterling and Sterling tries to roll through. However, Yan rides it and ends up on top. Nice elbows land for Yan. The round comes to a close and it’s Petr Yan’s round at UFC 273.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 273, I have it 2-2, but I also have Sterling winning with a 10-8 round in there. Yan takes the center and he lands a nice body kick to start the striking. Low kick lands for Yan and he’s going after Sterling hard.

Huge takedown attempt from Sterling here, however, Yan is defending well. Sterling presses him against the fence and he’s trying for a takedown desperately here. Yan shakes him off and they are striking. Nice left hand lands for Yan.

Sloppy takedown attempt from Sterling and Yan shakes him off. However, Sterling goes for another one and gets the back of Yan on the feet. Yan works his way to the fence as he tries to defend. Knees to the thighs from Sterling.

Yan spins and breaks the clinch. Jab from Sterling and another takedown attempt. Yan defends and then Sterling shoots again. Another sprawl from Yan and they are striking. Nice left hand from Yan and there’s two minutes left.

Big knee and a nice left from Yan lands. Sloppy takedown attempt from Sterling and Yan throws him to the side. Yan takes his back but lets him go. Sterling shoots again, but Yan defends and gets his back again. Yan landing shots from the top.

The fight comes to a close and Yan wins the final two rounds at UFC 273. These scorecards are going to be interesting.

Aljamain Sterling def. Petr Yan by Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)