Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 273 the bantamweight title is on the line. The reigning champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3) is 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 Prediction
Let’s be completely honest here, nobody really considers Aljamain Sterling to be the true UFC bantamweight champion. Yes, he will walk in second and be introduced as that, but the man won the title by disqualification.
Tomorrow night is his chance to prove he is the true champion. How does he do that? Well, I think you’ll see a steady diet of kicks and takedown attempts from Sterling. Look for him to work the body of Yan and even look to work leg kicks on Yan who stands mostly in a boxing stance.
For Yan, the game plan is very simple. The plan is to keep the fight at his range and keep it standing. Yan isn’t afraid to exchange in grappling and we saw that in their first fight. However, Yan wants to make a statement at UFC 273 and he does that with his hands.
I really respect Aljamain Sterling as a competitor. He’s one of the best bantamweights in the world. However, he’s not the best and I think that’s going to be proven tomorrow night. Expecting a big statement from Yan and I’m expecting him to walk out the undisputed champion.
Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO – Round 3