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Morning Report: Aljamain Sterling thinks Sean O’Malley can beat Petr Yan at UFC 280: “Yan needs to come in with a smart I.Q.’

UFC 273: Sterling v Yan 2
Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The bookmakers may not be giving Sean O’Malley much of a chance vs. Petr Yan, but Aljamain Sterling is.

Sterling will defend his bantamweight title against former champion T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event of UFC 280, but immediately before that bout, Sterling’s old rival, Yan, will face O’Malley in the featured main card bout, with potential title ramifications on the line. It’s a big step up in competition for O’Malley and as such, Yan is a heavy favorite heading into the bout, but “The Funk Master” believes this could be a tough fight for Yan if he doesn’t mind his Ps and Qs.

“I think it’s a good technical matchup for both guys,” Sterling told Submission Radio. “If you look at it on paper, O’Malley is untested. The one time he had a test, he failed, that was to [Marlon] ‘Chito’ Vera. Obviously it was a weird injury that he had with that leg kick, because not every day someone is going to kick you in the leg and you get drop foot. He’s got good footwork, he’s got good range, he’s got good movement, and then you have Yan, who is super durable, super tough, as people say he ‘downloads data’ — I hate when people say that, it’s the stupidest thing. If he could have punched you in the face, he would have punched you in the face. He can’t, so he’s trying to get a read on you. They make it sound like he’s this unbeatable robot. 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 the shots, it could be a miserable night for Yan. But if Yan is able to touch him up, go to the body, chop down O’Malley’s legs — I’m not saying O’Malley’s legs are his weak point because people tend to keep talking about that, but I do think with a tall, rangy fighter, who is tough to hit up top, how else do you get him? You attack the body, that’s going to be a lot more stationary, and you attack the legs, that’s going to be a lot more stationary. You can’t get the legs out of the way the same way you get the head out of the way. So I think Yan has to come in with a smart I.Q., otherwise he’s going to go 0-3.”

For his part, O’Malley is agrees with Sterling, saying he’s surprised to be such a big betting underdog against Yan, even though Yan is a former champion.

UFC 280 takes place Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.


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Thanks for reading! See y’all tomorrow.



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