The first of three title fights at UFC 259 is the bantamweight title match between Petr Yan (15-1) and Aljamain Sterling (19-3). Originally, these two were supposed to fight in December, however, they will finally stand across from each other tomorrow night.
Since making his debut with the UFC back in 2018, nobody has been able to stop Petr Yan. Yan has gone 7-0 with four stoppages over the last couple of years. In late 2019, Yan demolished Hall of Famer Urijah Faber which really announced his arrival to the world.
From there, Yan earned a vacant title opportunity against former champion, Jose Aldo. The two met at UFC 251 on Fight Island. Yan got off to a slow start, but as the fight went on, he started taking control. Yan ended up with a fifth round TKO to capture the bantamweight title.
Just one month prior to Yan becoming champion, Aljamain Sterling fought Cory Sandhagen. This matchup was considered a title eliminator and nobody knew how it would go. Well, Sterling got Sandhagen down and submitted him in just under 90 seconds.
With that emphatic win, Sterling had earned himself a UFC title shot. Sterling is unbeaten since 2018 having gone 5-0 inside the octagon. He’s defeated Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz, and Sandhagen on his road to UFC 259.
UFC 259 Prediction
When it comes to the title fight at UFC 259, the path to victory for both men is quite clear. For Aljamain Sterling, he has to get this fight to the ground. Yes, we’ve seen him show off some good striking, just take a look at the Pedro Munhoz fight.
However, we all know that Sterling is going to need to get this fight to the ground to win tomorrow night. For Petr Yan, retaining his UFC title is all about defending the takedown. Yan’s boxing is sensational and he needs to make this a striking matchup to win.
Aljamain Sterling has never gone five rounds while Yan has done it several times. I’m also going to be curious to see the gas tanks of both men. The first round of this fight is going to tell me a lot.
If Sterling is able to get Yan down early and often with little trouble, we are going to have a new UFC bantamweight champion. However, if Yan is able to keep this mostly on the feet, he’s going to score a knockout tomorrow. In the end, I’m leaning towards Petr Yan getting the finish and retaining his title tomorrow night.
Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO – Round 4