March 05, 2021 12:01 PM
Last modified date: March 04, 2021 3:32 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259

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When is UFC 259? Sunday 7th March, 2021 - 01:00 start (UK)

Where is UFC 259? UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nevada (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC 259? Click here for the latest ticket information for UFC events

What channel is UFC 259 on? BT Sport 2

Where can I stream UFC 259? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


The new bantamweight champion Petr Yan (15-1) makes the first defence of his title in a hugely anticipated clash. Yan has only had seven UFC fights but the only blemish on his record is a split decision loss to Magomed Magomedov back in 2016. Since, he has flourished into his prime with five knockouts in his 10-fight win streak which include his last two performances. Firstly, he knocked out Urijah Faber, but the veteran had just come out of retirement and pulled off a shock knockout over Ricky Simon to falsely lure people to believe he was on Yan’s level. However, Yan took himself to the next level by taking on the former featherweight king Jose Aldo and finishing him in the fifth round to claim the vacant title.

Aljamain Sterling (19-3) finally gets his shot after postponements and it has come at a great time as the ‘Funk Master’ is also in his prime right now. He suffered a painful setback on his road to the title back in 2017 when Marlon Moraes stiffened him with a terrifying flying knee. However, he has compiled arguably the best streak in the division right now including, Brett Johns (unanimous decision), Cody Stamann (submission), Jimme Rivera (unanimous decision), Pedro Munhoz (unanimous decision) and most impressively his recent and ruthless submission over Cory Sandhagen.


Sterling has not hidden the fact that he plans to take Yan down and hunt a submission. They are both extremely well-rounded but the key for Yan winning is out striking Sterling and he needs to avoid getting tangled up on the canvas.

Yan’s boxing and Muay Thai has always been a thing of beauty but going five-rounds with Aldo and finishing the durable legend proved he has championship calibre striking dangerous for a full five rounds.

Sterling is proving his grappling is championship calibre and he is doing so by mixing everything together so well and that is what he needs to do against Yan. Sterling is a quality striker himself and he mixes in his wrestling seamlessly and can jump on a submission from any angle. Whether he grabs a leg from the back like that amazing Suloev stretch on Stamann or becoming a human backpack like he did to Sandhagen.

Yan has great takedown defence so Sterling needs to be unpredictable and the key will be to strike more especially as Yan is prone to eating too many shots. Just like Khabib Nurmagomedov did to Conor McGregor, it was a right hand that McGregor was not prepared for. If Sterling can catch Yan, there will be various opportunities to tie him up.

Obviously, a risky strategy against one of the most dangerous strikers in the division. If Sterling also fails on the first couple takedown attempts, Yan will be fuelled to go on and dominate the rounds with his striking.

This is such a fascinating match-up and it is going to be a spectacle of world class martial arts. It is hard to pick so Sterling is the smart money as the underdog and 25 minutes is a long time to create scrambles, but we have a feeling Yan could follow up his win over Aldo with an even better performance.


Value Bet: Sterling via Submission or Decision

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