Aljamain Sterling has a personal interest in every important fight that takes place at bantamweight, but the forthcoming battle between Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 is the one that piques his interest the most.
The New York Native Is Keeping a Tight Watch
The New York native is keeping a close eye on Yan vs. O’Malley because the winner could be the next person in line to challenge for the belt.
He is preparing to defend his 135-pound title on the same night against T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event, so he is also keeping a close eye on the fight between Yan and O’Malley.
Even though Yan is a significant step up in terms of competition for O’Malley, Sterling believes that there are still a lot of advantages that play in the favor of the well-known rising star.
Sterling said in an interview with MMA Fighting’s The Fighter vs. The Writer that “honestly, it’s a win-win for O’Malley.” “I am aware that he has said that he is not looking at it in that way, but aesthetically speaking, it is a fantastic chance.
I believe that in a battle that lasts three rounds, he has a far better chance of coming out on top. “Yan gets off to a slow start. He goes too aggressive, as he did against me in that first round, and as a result, he gets picked apart from the outside.
He then bets on attempting to catch up to you later on. Because O’Malley is skilled and has excellent footwork, I believe the decision will turn out to be a poor one with negative consequences. I believe that he has all that is necessary to achieve victory.
Despite this, Sterling is hesitant to fully trust O’Malley, particularly about the latter’s capacity to overcome challenges and emerge victorious in situations in which he is not simply outclassing his rivals.
One Of the Best Examples of This
There is no greater illustration of this than O’Malley’s only defeat in the UFC, which occurred when he was assaulted by Marlon Vera and was unable to defend himself.
“Chito” got in O’Malley’s face and refused to back down until the bout was over, which he won by a technical knockout in the first round.
Sterling remarked of O’Malley, “The one question mark I have for him is the toughness.” Sterling was referring to O’Malley’s reputation for being soft. Will he give up when Yan really touches him and continues to chip away at him, or will he remain there and compete?
That is the only reason I have a problem with that pairing. Simply put, I have no clue how he is going to fair when he is met with some resistance that is directed against him.
When we saw that, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera was there, and [O’Malley] was standing there sort of folded.
He had several difficulties throughout his life. It is difficult for anybody to fight when their foot is injured like that, but I believe the way he sorts of collapsed was extremely indicative of his character.
However, it was a few years ago now so things may have changed. He has matured. It would be fascinating to observe where he is at in this situation.”
Sterling, despite having engaged in a bitter rivalry with Yan for nearly two years, still praises his former adversary because he is aware of how difficult of a fight Yan can be for anybody, much less O’Malley, who hasn’t faced this kind of opposition before.
One Need Not Be Chinese to Be A Yan
This is because Sterling knows just how difficult of a fight Yan can be for anybody. When they unexpectedly ran into one other in Abu Dhabi, the two smiled and exchanged pleasantries with one another.
Sterling prefers Yan to win the match on October 22 due in part to their previous two championship battles; nevertheless, he is not ruling out the possibility of O’Malley pulling off the shock.
Sterling said that they had been there along with Petr. “I know he’s going to be there for the full 15 minutes, in your face, wanting to touch up O’Malley to the body, cut down his legs till he can get take off his head,” she said.
“I know he’s going to be trying to touch up O’Malley to the body.” O’Malley is one of those individuals who makes extensive use of footwork and a great deal of delicacy in their play. Attempts to contact you from the outside while also using a variety of feints.
He had a difficult time with Pedro Munhoz in the first round, so it just makes me question how he’s going to perform with that technique when he has someone that can mix it up with him and not just a human punching bag. He had a difficult time.
“I don’t know how that battle is going to turn out, but if I had to choose, I would side with Yan.
I just believe that he’s a little bit more seasoned, and I think that he’s going to know how to make those changes because he’s had to have done them previously on the largest stage, which was championship fights and five-round bouts.”
Sterling’s preference for Yan stems from the fact that he has formed an objective assessment of the situation; nonetheless, he does not rule out the possibility that O’Malley would emerge victorious, particularly when considering the personal stakes that may be at play.
Since joining the UFC, O’Malley has emerged as one of the most well-known and well-discussed fighters on the whole roster. This kind of success often translates into more interest from fans, higher television ratings, and more people purchasing pay-per-view events.
As the current holder of the UFC bantamweight title, Sterling is well aware that a fight against O’Malley would almost certainly result in a significant financial reward. In contrast, he remarked that after previously competing against Yan twice in a row, he won’t have as much enthusiasm for a trilogy with him since they have already met twice.
“If O’Malley wins, I take out T.J., and I’m thrilled with taking on that fight,” Sterling said. “I’m incredibly happy with taking on that matchup.” “I’m going to be thrilled about any chance, regardless of what comes my way,” I said.
It should come as no surprise that I won’t be nearly as enthused about Yan, given that we’ve already faced each other twice and fought for damn near 10 rounds. I believe that we should be OK with this one for at least a little while longer. We’ll see. I enjoy pay-per-view. I enjoy the money.”