- Petr Yan is favored in a rematch with Aljamain Sterling.
- Yan lost the UFC bantamweight title to Sterling at UFC 259 after he was disqualified for an illegal knee.
- UFC President Dana White says that he wants to book a rematch as soon as possible.
Last Saturday’s UFC bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan And Aljamain Sterling had anti-climatic ending. After battling for three exciting rounds, the fight abruptly ended in the fourth round in the first ever disqualification in UFC championship history. With the entire MMA world left hanging, UFC President Dana White said he wants to book the rematch as soon as possible:
Dana White wants to book Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan rematch ‘as soon as possible’ https://t.co/bTqVuFAOOu
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) March 8, 2021
With that, the best UFC betting sites were quick to open their betting lines and according to online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, the immediate former UFC bantamweight champion is a -250 betting favorite in a potential rematch with the newly crowned bantamweight king. The same betting site has Sterling as a strong +210 underdog if he faces Yan in his first title defense.
Those opening odds are a stark contrast from the pick’em lines we saw when the two faced off inside the Octagon last Saturday night. Yan floated at around -110 to -120 while Sterling went anywhere between +105 to -110, depending on which betting site you prefer to use. But after what they saw at UFC 259, online sportsbooks are convinced that No Mercy will beat Master Funk in a rematch, and they think it’s not going to be close.
Yan’s Illegal Knee
Aljamain Sterling is the NEW UFC Bantamweight Champion after this illegal knee disqualified Petr Yan #UFC259pic.twitter.com/lQ6ITgu9ip
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) March 7, 2021
Sterling defeated Yan at UFC 259 but by unusual circumstance. Yan looked to be in control of the bout in round four when he struck a downed Sterling with an illegal knee to the head. After several minutes, the referee and ringside doctor deemed Sterling unfit to continue, and declared him the winner via disqualification.
At the time of the stoppage, two judges had Yan ahead 29-28, while the third judge had Sterling up by the same score. Sterling started out strong, trying to pressure Yan despite being unable to take down the Russian. However, he was visibly tired after two rounds and had slowed down significantly when the bout was stopped. Meanwhile, Yan came on strong beginning the third round and started to dominate the fight before that ill-advised knee.
Multiple pro fighters are accusing UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling of acting his way to the title. ???? https://t.co/19qz8Q1hxL
— bjpenndotcom (@bjpenndotcom) March 7, 2021
But while the referee had every right to disqualify Yan and award the victory ( and belt ) to Sterling, many people- multiple pro fighters included, accused Master Funk of acting his way to the title. While it was clear that Yan landed a very significant illegal strike, Sterling didn’t look like he was badly compromised which prompted critics to say he was faking it. But of course, the doctor and the referee had the last say and they ruled in favor of Sterling.
The controversial ending has fueled calls for an immediate rematch, which UFC president Dana White says he wants to happen soon. How soon though will depend on the UFC 259 medical suspensions which is expected to be issued anytime. The good news though is that White says Sterling went to the hospital right after the fight and was cleared by doctors. With both fighters also expressing their desire to run it back right away, it won’t be a surprise to see this fight get booked sooner.