After 13 months, the much-awaited rematch between the bantamweight champions has finally come.
After the huge controversy following the DQ finish, Aljamain Sterling finally finally made things right by defending his title against Petr Yan.
Coming into it, Sterling was looking to use MMA math to his advantage and be levelheaded.
In the first and closest round of the fight, Aljamain started the round much more composed than in his previous performance. The American circled around his opponent and looked to measure his offense by picking his shots, in order to save stamina for the later rounds.
Meanwhile, Petr Yan took the center of the cage and stalked Sterling for the duration of the round.
In the second round of the championship fight, Sterling was able to take the Russian down and quickly worked to get back control. Sterling then locked the body triangle to keep Yan locked in place while he looked for the choke. After failing to get the choke, the American turned Yan around and flattened him out on the ground. From there Sterling landed hard ground and pound to end a strong round for him.
In the third round, Yan came aware of the takedown threat and managed to stuff several takedowns for the American. However, Sterling landed a hard right hand and was able to then get the Russian to the ground. Once again the American was able to take bake control and completely dominate Petr Yan.
After two dominant rounds, Sterling came to the fourth round with a lot of momentum on his side. However, Yan started the round strongly and landed several punches that rocked the American.
Sterling then was able to land a takedown, but this time, Yan was able to reverse it and put sterling on his back.
After a hard-fought fight, the two champions came to the fifth round putting all on the line.
The final round started with Yan landing a hard kick on Sterling. After a minute went by, Sterling was able to get to Yan’s back once again. But this time the Russian fought a lot harder to keep Sterling off of him. After separating, Yan kept sprawling on Sterling’s takedown attempts and punishing him with strikes.
After landing hard strikes, Yan was able to stuff one of Sterling’s takedowns, and this time it was he who worked to get on his back. The rivals ended the round trading grappling exchanges until the end of the fight.
After the fight went the distance, each fighter had two clearly dominant rounds. At the end of it, it would all depend on who won the closely disputed first round of the bout.
Bruce Buffer then announced a split decision victory for Aljamain Sterling.
Aljamain Sterling defeats Petr Yan via split decision to retain the UFC Bantamweight title ‼️
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 10, 2022
The American was finally able to legitimize his title, after finally beating Petr Yan in a proper fight.
During the post-fight interview, Aljamain was ecstatic about his victory. Sterling even took to good humor the criticism he received for “acting” and injury in the first fight.
“Yo 50Cent.’ Sterling jokingly told Joe Rogan. “Put me in the next “Power Universe”.
“I’m a big-time actor, everybody here knows that I’m looking for my next acting role.”
After finishing his business with Petr Yan, Sterling called out another former champion for his next title defense.
“Aljo” proceeded to call out T.J. Dillashaw for a fight against him.
Despite what you think, you’ve got to give Aljo respect for taking the fight to Yan.
However, it could’ve gone either way.
Now, Sterling wants T.J. ?
"TJ Needleshaw! TJ Pillashaw! TJ everything under the sun!"?
— James Evans (@EvansJames99) April 10, 2022