Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has made his prediction for the upcoming bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.
Yan, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion, will attempt to defend his title against Sterling, the No. 1 contender, at UFC 259 on March 6. Ahead of the card, Dillashaw is preparing to return from a two-year suspension due to a United States Anti-Doping Agency suspension, and will therefore be watching the action closely.
Speaking on the Real Quick with Mike Swick podcast, Dillashaw shared his thoughts on this upcoming bantamweight title fight.
“I think it’s a tough fight for Yan because of the style of the fighter,” Dillashaw said (via MMA Junkie). “I think Yan’s the better, (more) well-rounded fighter. He’s got more of the skills and more aspects of fighting. But Sterling’s wrestling is very aggressive.
“(Sterling’s) striking is real uncomfortable. He doesn’t really set anything up – he just kind of bombs kicks non-stop, kind of got that distance. But then he can grab a hold of you. He’s got great wrestling and his jiu-jitsu is amazing, too. I watched him take (Cory) Sandhagen out in 45 seconds. We watched him do a lot of great grappling in some of his fights. So I think it’ll be a tough fight because I do think Yan, maybe his biggest weakness is his wrestling.”
While Dillashaw sees paths to victory for both men, he admitted he’s leaning toward Yan when he was pressed for a prediction.
“He lost in the past to a guy that’s in Bellator just by getting outwrestled, so we’ll see the gains he’s made in his MMA wrestling,” Dillashaw said of Yan. “I would still probably put my money on Yan just because he’s a little more well-rounded, structurally and on the feet. I think he’ll be able to keep the distance good enough. But you can’t underestimate a tough-nosed wrestler. So he can’t be counting his chickens before they hatch because he’s trying to call me out, but he’s got to get past Sterling and stay on top.”
What do you think of this breakdown from TJ Dillashaw?