Bantamweight champion Petr Yan and challenger Aljamain Sterling had a heated staredown at the UFC 259 pre-fight press conference. Sterling promised to break Yan on the fight night but the champ remained stoic and talked back with a few words of his own.
Petr Yan is slated to attempt the first successful defense of his Bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling on the stacked UFC 259 fight card. Out of the three Championship bouts on the main card, this is the one that carries the most intrigue around it and will also be hard to predict.
While Amanda Nunes (-1050) and Israel Adesanya (-230) are clear betting favorites in their respective fights, both Yan and Sterling are neck and neck at -110.
Petr Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) won the vacant UFC Bantamweight title against former Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 251 in July 2020. Yan is one of the best Boxers in UFC right now and has defeated four out of his seven UFC opponents via KO/TKO.
No.1 ranked Bantamweight Aljamain Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) is on a five-fight winning streak that was capped with an impressive submission win over No.2 ranked Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250. Sterling has a terrifying grappling game and his feud with the champion escalated even before the bout became official.
Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are beaming with confidence and respect
Petr Yan is a striker while Aljamain Sterling has a clear advantage in grappling. Both fighters were asked to share their thoughts on the weaker aspect of their opponent's game. Despite the longstanding beef, the pair spoke highly about each other but showed supreme confidence in their ability to take the belt home on Saturday, March 6.
"I think Petr has very good grappling. I just don't think it's to the level of mine... Some of the competition that he's faced, I've got to train with those guys as well... If I get his back, like those guys have got his back in the past, it's gonna be a problem and it's gonna be a short night," said Aljamain Sterling.
"He's got good striking but compared to mine, I'm sure I am going to knock him out," said Petr Yan.