UFC 280 Preview: Aljamain Sterling – TJ Dillashaw

Daniel Cunningham
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 280, we are going to see a battle for the bantamweight title. Undisputed champion Aljamain Sterling (21-3) will look to defend his title against a man who never lost his title inside the octagon in TJ Dillashaw (17-4).

Back in 2018, TJ Dillashaw was the bantamweight champion and had just come off back-to-back knockouts of Cody Garbrandt. He was being dubbed as one of if not the greatest bantamweight ever. Then, he tested positive for EPO when he was preparing to move to flyweight for double champ status.

He was hit with a two year suspension. Many wondered how Dillashaw would look upon his return. Well, he returned last year and defeated Cory Sandhagen to earn this title shot. It’s taken over a year for it to happen, but his shot at redemption is finally here.

Standing across from him is The Funk Master. Sterling is coming off a close win over Petr Yan which gave his title reign legitimacy. His title reign started with a DQ win over Yan so many didn’t consider him to be a true champion. However, there’s no denying him after his last win over Yan.

UFC 280 Prediction

Both men appear to be in sensational shape leading up to the UFC 280 co-main event. They are going to need it as I think this is a fight that goes into the champion rounds. How the first few rounds all comes down to the grappling exchanges.

If he’s at his best, I think Dillashaw is going to have the advantage overall on the feet. Sterling has some funky kicks and rangy strikes, but I really like Dillashaw’s footwork and overall striking game. The key for Dillashaw is going to be takedown defense.

Sterling is a monster when he gets his opponents to the ground. I do think he’s going to get Dillashaw down, but I think he’ll struggle at times to keep him down. I’m expecting this to be razor close throughout.

In the end, I see this one going to the cards. While I always thought I’d pick Dillashaw in this spot, I think Sterling does enough with takedowns and control to win a close decision and retain his UFC bantamweight title.

Prediction: Aljamain Sterling by Decision