Aljamain Sterling has weighed in on the upcoming interim UFC bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, 'Funk Master' suggested that Sandhagen could secure a stoppage win against Yan. Aljamain Sterling believes Petr Yan's peek-a-boo style of striking will work against him in the fight, as Sandhagen will pick him apart from the outside. Sterling said:
“I asked for December (2021). And, possibly, this fight (Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen) being a war, we could possibly not fight till January, February. If this fight is quick, I think 'Sandman' has a really good chance of smoking Yan, I really do. I think one guy is super flat-footed, the other guy is very dynamic and can end the fight at any given second in Cory Sandhagen. So, if he (Sandhagen) gets a quick finish, I think we could possibly turn around and end up fighting and doing a rematch in December (2021).”
'Funk Master' revealed that he recently spoke to 'Sandman', letting him know that he believes in him and that Sandhagen would beat Yan. The champion stated he's sad that he won't be the first one to beat Yan inside the octagon.
Aljamain Sterling noted that his UFC 259 fight against Petr Yan shouldn't be used as a measuring stick to gauge the former champion's wrestling skills. Sterling claimed that he wasn't at his best in that fight and recalled his first-round submission win over Sandhagen.
People feel that because he outwrestled Cory Sandhagen and Yan outwrestled him, the Russian would also outwrestle Sandhagen. However, Aljamain Sterling believes Yan will not be able to outwrestle or out-strike Sandhagen at UFC 267.
Watch Aljamain Sterling and others on The MMA Hour below:
Aljamain Sterling faced the wrath of the MMA community for withdrawing from his rematch against Petr Yan
Aljamain Sterling underwent neck surgery in April 2021. Citing recovery related to the same, 'Funk Master' pulled out of his scheduled title fight against Petr Yan at UFC 267. Sterling was already a controversial figure after winning the belt via disqualification; pulling out of the rematch pushed MMA fans further away from him.
Many believe that Aljamain Sterling ought to be stripped of the title, given how he won. His fight with Petr Yan at UFC 259 was a largely one-sided affair, with the Russian dominating the fight until the illegal knee.
During his interview with Ariel Helwani, 'Funk Master' stated that the average person requires 12-18 months to recover from the procedure he underwent. Regardless, Sterling opined that he could be back in the octagon as early as this December.
With Sterling out of action, Petr Yan will fight Cory Sandhagen in an interim UFC bantamweight title bout at UFC 267 on October 30. The winner of this fight will face Sterling in a title unification matchup.
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