Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan preview and prediction

Preview and Prediction for Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan at UFC 273

While this isn’t the title fight of the evening’s main event, perhaps no matchup at UFC 273 is more talked about than the much-anticipated bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.

This is a meeting in the making a year after their controversial first encounter at UFC 259 in March 2021. Yan was in control for much of the first three rounds of this fight, but in the fourth he landed an illegal knee that Sterling was unable to continue.

Sterling became the first fighter in UFC history to win a championship after being disqualified. There has been a lot of heat between the two parties since then, with Sterling accused of exaggerating the damage caused by the illegal knee and fearful of defending the championship.

The two were originally scheduled to meet again at UFC 267 in October, but Sterling pulled out of the fight due to neck problems. Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen in that event to become the interim bantamweight champion.

Who will win at UFC 273: Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan?

Looking at the Tale of the Tape, both come in at similar heights, but Sterling will have a four-inch reach advantage. According to FightMetrics, Yan landed a better beats per minute but also absorbed more per minute. However, hitting accuracy and defense percentages are pretty similar. Both have similar 15-minute takedown averages, but Yan’s accuracy and defense percentages are outstanding.

However, let’s look at the bigger picture. For almost the entire first encounter, Yan was in control. Sterling may have landed more strikes, but Yan has landed the vast majority of significant strikes. And there was no question when it came to grappling; Yan landed all seven of his takedown attempts, while Sterling was stuffed all but one of his 17 attempts against Yan.

Yan looked like he was about to ride to a decision win before the illegal knee landed. Well, was that Yan’s fault? Absolutely. He got lost in the heat of the moment and got caught. But that won’t happen again.

Sterling could obviously make improvements between then and now, but that remains to be seen. It’s not good for people to question whether you’re even the legitimate champion in your division, even though you are.

That doesn’t mean he can’t win, but Yan will want to make a statement and right the wrongs of last year. And there’s a lot less doubt about that ending.

Prediction: Yan by unanimous decision

UFC 273: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie will be held live on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. Follow FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights. Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan preview and prediction

John Verrall

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