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"It could be a miserable night for Yan" - Aljamain Sterling previews Sean O'Malley vs. Petr Yan at UFC 280

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Sean O'Malley (left), Aljamain Sterling (center), and Petr Yan (right). [Images courtesy: Getty Images]

Sean O'Malley and Petr Yan are set to face each other on a stacked UFC 280 card. Despite the massive disparity in their respective rankings, it is a fight that has generated a lot of excitement amongst fans.

Divisional champion Aljamain Sterling, who will put his belt on the line against TJ Dillashaw on the same night, recently weighed in on how the fight will go. Sterling spoke in an interview with Submission Radio:

"I think it is a good technical matchup for both guys. If you look at it on paper, obviously O'Malley's untested. The one time he had a test, he failed and that was to Chito Vera. Obviously, it's a weird injury that he had with that leg kick. He's got good footwork, he's got good range, he's got good movement. And then you got Petr Yan, who's super durable, super tough."

Sterling then mentioned Yan's tendency to start fights out slow. He cited that it is more than just him assessing the opponent and it's just an inability to throw strikes from the get-go. He spoke about how this approach could backfire against Sean O'Malley:

"If he starts behind like that and gives O'Malley a chance in a three-round fight, an opportunity to run the score on him, pick his shots, it could be a miserable night for Yan."

Watch Aljamain Sterling's full interview on YouTube:

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Aljamain Sterling not ruling out a title fight against Sean O'Malley

Aljamain Sterling faces former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw at UFC 280 in the co-main event. It will only be the champion's second title defense but he has no shortage of challengers in the division.

Sterling spoke to the UFC Live panel and responded to a question of who he might fight next:

"But I think for me, it comes down to the best matchup, the best performances, and I think right now 'Chito's definitely the front-runner. After I get past TJ, because I don't want to look past him, I get the job done. I think whoever has the best performance, it might be a 'Sugar' show, it might be a 'Chito' show. I'm not sure which one yet."

Sterling mentioned No.5-ranked contender Marlon Vera, who is on an impressive four-fight win streak, as the frontrunner. However, he refused to rule out Sean O'Malley as a possible opponent depending on his result against Petr Yan.

Sean O'Malley's toughest test yet may yield him a title shot. Defeating a former champion and highest-ranked contender could be very difficult for UFC matchmakers to overlook when deciding the next bantamweight challenger.

Catch Aljamain Sterling's full comments on ESPN MMA:

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Edited by John Cunningham
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