Thursday, May 19, 2022

Aljamain Sterling Puzzled By Fans’ Selective Memory Of First Yan Fight

UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling thinks his first matchup with Petr Yan was more competitive than some fans believe.

Sterling will square off against Yan in a rematch over a year in the making at UFC 273. Sterling earned the title over Yan after Yan threw an illegal knee that led to disqualification at UFC 259.

Yan and Sterling were supposed to fight numerous times in their rematch over the past year, but the bout was canceled due to various reasons. Now, they’ll have the chance to settle one of the most heated bantamweight rivalries in the Octagon on April 9.

The two top 135-pounders went back and forth in their first matchup at UFC 259, but many fans felt that Yan was coasting to a win before throwing an illegal knee at Sterling late in the fight. During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Sterling addressed critics who feel that he was dominated by Yan in their first fight.

“I really do feel the way the last fight went in the first round, I mean people are going to say ‘You dropped him’ and yeah, he did all those things,” Sterling said. “But the fact that I was able to get a takedown that easily when I felt like shit coming into the fight, for me, the lightbulb goes off and it just goes ‘Well, when you’re feeling good, what’s gonna happen? What’s really gonna happen?’ And that’s the mystery right there.

Petr Yan Aljamain Sterling September
Image Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

“People gonna say ‘Oh, he was just warming up and engaging you’. I’m like alright, man, people just say the craziest shit. And at the end of the day, they can talk, it’s their prerogative, they can do whatever they want. But two guys gotta figure this out, and that’s me and Petr Yan.”

Sterling and Yan have been on each other’s nerves for months following their first fight. The banter between the two of them has become personal recently with Sterling accusing Yan of using PEDs and calling him a “piece of shit” human being.

While Sterling was sidelined with an injury, Yan fought and defeated Cory Sandhagen for the interim title at UFC 267. The rematch between Sterling and Yan was quickly re-booked for UFC 272 before eventually moving to the UFC 273 co-headliner.

Sterling will have the chance to silence his critics against Yan at UFC 273, while Yan is looking to reclaim the bantamweight throne after a long waiting period for his rematch with Sterling.

What’s your prediction for Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2?

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