Cory Sandhagen thinks Aljamain Sterling’s grappling will always make him a threat to Petr Yan.
UFC bantamweight champion will look to unify gold with interim champ in the co-main event of UFC 273 on April 9.
“I think Sterling is always dangerous because he is such a good grappler, and I think Yan is super dangerous because he punches hard as hell,” Sandhagen told MMA Junkie. “I think Yan is likely the more well-rounded guy, but I think if Yan goes in thinking that he’s just gonna crush him because of the way that the last fight went, I think that would be a huge mistake on Yan’s part, but I don’t think he’s that poor of a competitor.”
“I think that he’s gonna go in and do really well again and not let the last fight impact him, and I think Yan is just kind of a better all-around competitor also than Sterling is. But that being said, Sterling’s a very good fighter. He’s a very good competitor and he’s a good grappler so there’s always that.”
Sandhagen thinks Sterling is the one that needs to change his approach more so than Yan, who was starting to take over the fight before he struck Sterling with the fight-ending illegal knee late in Round 4.
“If I was him (Sterling), I would definitely change the pace that I was fighting,” Sandhagen said. “It was a little bit chaotic, but it also threw Yan off a lot too so that was a positive that came from that, but you saw in the later rounds that was definitely not going to be something that would have benefitted him in Rounds 4 and 5. If I was Sterling, I would definitely change the pace of the fight.”
“I would not try and make it as frantic as he kind of made it in the first one and then if I was Yan, I would probably do the exact same thing that he did in the first one because if Aljamain slows down the pace, that just means that Yan gets to fight at a less chaotic pace which I think Yan does really well in so yeah they both definitely have some corrections to make.”