UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling gave his breakdown and prediction for the interim bantamweight title fight at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen.
Sterling spoke with MMA Fighting's Damon Martin on his podcast Fighter vs. Writer and discussed the bout between his two past foes, ultimately saying he believes Sandhagen's style could end up giving Yan a ton of problems in tomorrow's co-main event. Sterling defeated Sandhagen via a first-round submission due to a rear-naked choke at UFC 250 and won via disqualification against Yan at UFC 259 after the former Russian champion landed an illegal knee in the fourth round.
“I do think Sandhagen gives him a ton of trouble on the feet, and I think that’s what is going to make this very, very difficult [for Petr Yan],” Sterling said. “Because Yan kind of stands there, kind of plods forward, and he’s just looking for that big shot, hoping he can catch you. It’s one of those things where a guy like myself, a guy like Sandhagen, a guy like [T.J.] Dillashaw, anyone that has any kind of real footwork, he’s going to have a really hard time with those guys trying to find them. Sandhagen’s real tall, he’s really rangy. You watch the fight with him and Marlon [Moraes] — Marlon couldn’t touch him. He was throwing kicks, swinging, and missing. He looked like he was at the batting cage and couldn’t find connection at all. That’s what it looked like and that’s what Sandhagen does. He’s that good."
He continued on with his breakdown of the matchup and ultimately put his support behind Sandhagen.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if Yan gets touched up a little bit, that he looks to go to the wrestling, because again, [Cory Sandhagen is] that dangerous from the outside," Sterling said. "It’s not like he has a lot of power but he has fight-ending techniques. Flying knees, spinning elbows, those front kicks that he uses. Even that head kick that he uses and the wheel kick that he uses, he’s got dangerous weapons. I guarantee [Yan is] going to try to take him down. If he gets touched up a bit, he’s going to try to take him down. He’s going to try to do what I did and he’s going to realize that sh*t is not easy. I think the fans are going to realize, ‘Maybe Aljo was onto something when he was saying what he was saying.’ I’m just calling it how I see it. [Sandhagen] is not like Yan, where he’s throwing combinations and he’s falling into his punches to get a lot more punching power behind it. It’s two completely different styles but I like what Sandhagen does and I think that’s what’s going to get him the win.”
This BANGER of an interim BW title fight is official --— UFC (@ufc) October 29, 2021
---- @PetrYanUFC vs ---- @CorySandhagen
[ #UFC267 Tomorrow -------------- 10:30-------- -------- -------- 2-------- LIVE on ESPN+ @VisitAbuDhabi @InAbuDhabi #InAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/MUxBxaOzD0