Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan preview and prediction for UFC 273
It may not be the most talked about fight at UFC 273, but the rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan for the bantamweight title may be the most talked about.
Following their tumultuous first fight at UFC 259 in March 2021, this is a rematch that has been a year in the making. Yan had won the first three rounds of the fight. In the fourth, he hit Sterling with an illegal knee that made him unable to fight anymore.
Sterling is the first fighter in UFC history to win a title after being disqualified. Since then, there’s been a lot of tension between the two sides, with Sterling being accused of exaggerating the impact of the illegal knee and being afraid to defend the title.
The two were supposed to fight again at UFC 267 in October, but Sterling pulled out due to neck difficulties. Yan won the interim bantamweight title after defeating Cory Sandhagen at that event.
Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan: who will win at UFC 273?
Both players are equal heights, but Sterling has a four-inch reach advantage, according to the Tale of the Tape. Yan has a higher strike-landed-per-minute output, but he has also absorbed more per minute, according to FightMetrics.
However, the striking accuracy and defensive percentages are very comparable. Both have a similar number of takedowns in the first 15 minutes. Yan’s accuracy and defensive percentages are much better.
But first, let’s take a look at the big picture. Yan was in command for virtually the whole first encounter. Although Sterling had more strikes, Yan had the majority of the key strikes.
When it came to grappling, Yan landed all seven of his takedown attempts, while Sterling was unable to take down Yan on all but one of his 17 attempts.
Before the illegal knee landed, Yan appeared to be on his way to a decision victory. Was it Yan’s fault this time? Absolutely. He became engrossed in the struggle and was caught. That, however, will not happen again.
Sterling might undoubtedly have improved between then and now, but that is yet to be determined. It’s not good when people doubt if you’re the actual champion of your division, despite the fact that you are.
This isn’t to say he won’t win, but Yan will want to make a statement and make amends for last year’s mistake. In the end, there’s a lot less doubt.