Aljamain Sterling

Funk Master

USA

Title defense bumped to April
BantamweightUFC
January 11, 2022
Sterling's title defense against Petr Yan is now scheduled for UFC 273 on April 9, MMA reporter Ariel Helwani reports.
ANALYSIS
The matchup pits Sterling against the interim champion and will represent Sterling's first trip to the Octagon in over a year. That fight saw him earn the bantamweight title against Yan himself, with Yan losing by disqualification following an illegal knee. The rematch was originally set for October 30 of last year before Sterling had to withdraw due to neck issues. It was reportedly rebooked for March 5 but has evidently been pushed back by just over a month.
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Yan fight scheduled again
BantamweightUFC
January 7, 2022
Sterling will fight Petr Yan for the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 272 on March 5, according to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.
ANALYSIS
Sterling will log his first UFC Bantamweight Championship defense against a previously undisputed -- but currently interim -- champion Yan. Both fighters were supposed to compete last October, but the Funk Master backed out because of lingering neck problems. Sterling will participate in his first fight since defeating Yan by disqualification at UFC 259.
Eyeing December return
BantamweightUFC
October 4, 2021
Sterling (neck) hopes to return to the Octagon in December to face the winner of the interim bantamweight title bout between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen, Steven Marrocco of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling was forced to withdraw from an Oct. 30 matchup with Yan in Abu Dhabi since he has yet to fully recover from April neck surgery, but he believes he'll be closer to 100 percent with an additional two months to heal up. As a result of Sterling's withdrawal, the UFC scheduled the interim title fight between Yan and Sandhagen, but Sterling won't be stripped of his own belt since he has already committed to take on the winner of the interim bout.
Not medically cleared for UFC 267
BantamweightUFC
September 27, 2021
Updating a previous report, Sterling (neck) failed to get medical clearance for his scheduled UFC 267 matchup against Petr Yan, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
It was first reported Saturday that Sterling would not be competing at UFC 267, leading many to believe that he withdrew himself for medical reasons. It doesn't appear that was the case, however, as Sterling did not pull himself out but instead failed to be medically cleared. This makes his return from neck surgery an even bigger question mark, and it's possible fight fans won't see him in the Octagon until at least 2022. In the meantime, the UFC is actively searching for a replacement to fight Petr Yan, presumably with an interim bantamweight title on the line.
Pulls out of UFC 267
BantamweightUFC
September 27, 2021
Sterling is out of his UFC 267 title defense against Petr Yan scheduled for Oct. 30 on Fight Island, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling is the current UFC champion and is riding a six-fight winning streak, though he was awarded the belt last March by a technicality. Yan was cruising his way to a decision victory (or potentially a stoppage) when he connected with an illegal knee while Sterling was a downed opponent, and Sterling was ultimately unable to continue. This all resulted in Sterling entering the rematch as a heavy betting underdog despite holding the belt. As for the reason, Sterling appears to be having complications from a neck surgery. The initial reason for the procedure seems to stem back to his college wrestling days, though taking a knee to the head certainly can't help matters. With Sterling on the sidelines for an undetermined amount of time, look for the UFC to book an interim fight featuring Yan.
Books title-belt rematch with Yan
BantamweightUFC
August 3, 2021
Sterling (neck) is scheduled to face Petr Yan (15-2-0) in a bantamweight title fight Oct. 30 at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling (20-3-0) claimed the title belt from Yan back at UFC 259 in Las Vegas back in March, when the latter was disqualified in the fourth round for an illegal knee to the head. The illegal hit may have exacerbated the existing neck problems that Sterling had endured for the past 10 years, prompting him to undergo surgery a month after his win over Yan. As anticipated, Sterling made a full recovery from the procedure in three months, so he'll be in the clear to put his title belt back on the line in a rematch with Yan.