After some uncertainty, the UFC has provided clarity in the bantamweight division. Yesterday afternoon we learned that Jose Aldo would be taking on Merab Dvalishvili in August and now the next title fight is set.
MMA Junkie was the first to report last night that at UFC 279, Aljamain Sterling (21-3) will be defending against TJ Dillashaw (17-4). There had been some internal discussions regarding Sterling’s next title defense, but Dillashaw was the leading candidate all along.
Dillashaw will get his chance to recapture the UFC title that he never lost inside the octagon. Back in 2018, Dillashaw was on top of the world as bantamweight champion having knocked out Cody Garbrandt twice.
Dillashaw then decided to move down to flyweight and try to become a two-division champion. The effort was harder than he thought it would be an he turned to EPO in order to help him train. That decision cost him his UFC bantamweight title and he was suspended for two years.
Dillashaw returned last July when he took on Cory Sandhagen. He looked really solid in that matchup and was able to win a split decision. That win put him in line for this title shot against The Funk Master.
UFC Defense for Sterling
Back at UFC 273, Aljamain Sterling had his rematch with Petr Yan. Yan lost the title to Sterling at UFC 259, but the perception was that Yan lost the title opposed to Sterling winning it. Sterling was awarded the belt by DQ after he couldn’t continue due to an illegal knee from Yan.
In their rematch, Sterling really showed how sensational his grappling was. He controlled Yan for the first half of the fight. Yan came on strong in the championship rounds, but Sterling has since said he took those rounds off knowing he had the first three won.
It almost cost him as one judge gave the fight to Yan. However, two gave it to him and now his UFC title reign is legit. Counting the DQ win, Sterling has now won seven fights in a row. Dillashaw is going to be a tough test and this one will really show us a lot considering he’s facing someone else who is really good on the ground.