How Aljamain Sterling thinks Petr Yan could have a ‘miserable night’ vs. Sean O’Malley at UFC 280

UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is not counting Sean O'Malley out against Petr Yan.

O’Malley (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) takes on ex-bantamweight champ Yan (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) on Oct. 22 at UFC 280 and is nearly a sizable underdog heading into the fight. Having beaten Yan twice, Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) thinks starting slow in a three-round fight could cost him.

“I think it’s a good technical matchup for both guys,” Sterling told Submission Radio. “I mean, if you look at it on paper, obviously O’Malley’s untested. The one time he had a test, he failed. And that was to ‘Chito’ Vera. Obviously it’s a weird injury that he had with that leg kick. You know, not every day someone’s gonna kick you in the leg and then you get drop foot. I mean, he’s got good footwork, he’s got good range, he’s got good movement. And then you got Petr Yan who’s super durable, super tough. As people would say, he’s downloading data.

“I hate when people say that. It’s the stupidest thing. If he could have punched you in the face, he would’ve punched you in the face. He just can’t. So, he’s trying to get a read on you. But they call it downloading data. They make him sound like he’s this unbeatable robot. I’m like, dude, whatever. If he starts behind the eight ball like that and gives O’Malley a chance in a three-round fight, an opportunity to run up the score on him, pick his shots, it could be a miserable night for Yan.”

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However, if Yan can break O’Malley down with strikes, Sterling can see him finding success with a good game plan.

“But if Yan is able to touch him up, I think, go to the body, chop down on O’Malley’s legs,” Sterling added. “And I’m not saying O’Malley’s legs are his weak point, because I know people tend to keep talking about that. But I do think with a tall, rangy fighter who’s gonna be hard to hit up top, how else do you get him? You attack the body. That’s gonna be a lot more stationary. And you attack the legs. That’s gonna be a lot more stationary. You can’t get the legs out of the way, the same way you can get the head out of the way, you know? So, I think Yan’s gonna have to come in with a smart IQ, otherwise he’s gonna go 0-3 (laughs).”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 280.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie