Former UFC bantamweight title holder Petr Yan was greatly overrated by management and fans of the organization, while being a fairly limited fighter, says the Russian’s former rival and reigning division champion, Aljamain Sterling.
“The UFC thought he was the goddamn chicken that would lay the golden eggs for them, but I knew he wasn’t as good as they thought he was,” Sterling said in an interview with Jake Paul. “It was the opinion of a person who not only plays this sport, but also analyzes fights. I run my own podcast and analyze the fights that took place on a weekly basis. Stylistically, I saw that Yang was successful in fights with those guys who stood motionless right in front of him. ”
“He takes his time, waits, lets his opponents hit, and then turns on himself and dismantles them in the rack. But if there is a guy who tries to fight him, that’s a different story. You’ve seen him fight Merab, you’ve seen him fight me, and even Sean – as soon as he’s up against a guy with good footwork, everything changes. If I were in his position, it would bother me.”
Aljamain Sterling became the new UFC bantamweight champion in March 2021, when Petr Yan, unilaterally defeating the American, landed an illegal knee on him in the fourth round and lost the title due to disqualification. A year later, the American defended the championship belt in a rematch, defeating the Russian by a split decision after five rounds, and then defended his title twice more, finishing by technical knockout of TJ Dillashaw and defeating Henry Cejudo by split decision.
The American fighter will defend his title again on August 19 at UFC 292 in Boston against his compatriot Sean O’Malley, who occupies the second line in the division ranking.
After an unsuccessful rematch with Sterling, Petr Yan suffered two more defeats, losing a split decision to O’Malley and a unanimous decision to Merab Dvalishvili.