UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has given his thoughts on the highly-anticipated matchup between Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley.
Sterling will defend his bantamweight title against TJ Dillashaw this month at UFC 280, where Yan and O’Malley will also lock horns in a crucial 135-pound matchup. The Russian is a 4-1 favourite, with many believing that the American will get battered in the toughest fight of his career so far.
‘The Funk Master’ however believes O’Malley will be a very tricky fight for his two-time opponent, and if ‘No Mercy doesn’t fight smart, he could find himself in a lot of trouble.
Aljamain Sterling On Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley
“I think it’s a good technical matchup for both guys,” Sterling said. “I mean, 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. You know, not every day someone’s gonna kick you in the leg and then you get drop foot. I mean, he’s got good footwork, he’s got good range, he’s got good movement. Then you got Petr Yan who’s super durable, super tough, as people would say, he’s downloading data. I hate when people say that. It’s the stupidest thing. If he could have punched you in the face, he would’ve punched you in the face. He just can’t. So, he’s trying to get a read on you. But they call it downloading data.
“They make him sound like he’s this unbeatable robot. I’m like, dude, whatever. If he starts behind the eight ball like that and gives O’Malley a chance in a three-round fight, an opportunity to run up the score on him, pick his shots, it could be a miserable night for Yan. But if Yan is able to touch him up, I think, go to the body, chop down on O’Malley’s legs. I’m not saying O’Malley’s legs are his weak point, because I know people tend to keep talking about that. But I do think with a tall, rangy fighter who’s gonna be hard to hit up top, how else do you get him? You attack the body. That’s gonna be a lot more stationary and you attack the legs, that’s gonna be a lot more stationary. You can’t get the legs out of the way, the same way you can get the head out of the way, you know? So, I think Yan’s gonna have to come in with a smart IQ, otherwise, he’s gonna go 0-3.”
Do you agree with Aljamain Sterling?