Adesanya made his pick based on Sterling’s latest performance against Petr Yan, where ‘The Funkmaster’ grappled his way to a victory.
Adesanya hailed Sterling as a ‘sticky’ customer who is difficult to get off once he grabs hold of his opponents.
The UFC middleweight champion predicts that ‘Funkmaster’ will ‘backpack’ his way to a victory against Dillashaw.
‘The Last Stylebender’ said on his YouTube channel:
“Either way, if I was going to pick this fight based off just what I’ve seen lately, my man’s sticky, bro. Whenever he grabs you, I was impressed he was able to stick on Petr. And Petr knew what he was going to do but he couldn’t get him off him. So I’m going to go Aljamain by backpack.”
Watch Israel Adesanya’s prediction for the UFC 280 co-headliner below:
Adesanya also believes that Sterling has really worn the championship personality since defeating Yan in their rematch. ‘Funkmaster’s first victory against Yan came via disqualification due to an illegal knee. While many questioned his claim to the bantamweight throne, Sterling shut down his detractors by beating ‘No Mercy’ in the closely contested rematch.
Israel Adesanya claims Sean O’Malley can fight for the title with a victory over Petr Yan
Sean O’Malley’s upcoming clash against Petr Yan will be his biggest step up in competition to date. While ‘Sugar’ has racked up a series of highlight-reel finishes, he is yet to prove himself against top contenders.
Speaking of O’Malley’s run so far, Israel Adesanya observed that ‘Sugar’ has been ‘smart’ in building up a resume full of finishes. ‘The Last Stylebender’ believes O’Malley will have a legitimate claim to a title shot if he can get his hands raised at UFC 280.
Adesanya further noted that a three-round affair could work to O’Malley’s advantage considering ‘No Mercy’ is a slow starter. The UFC middleweight champion added (6:21 mark):
“I think smart, get your experience. ‘Cause look at it, wins, wins, wins, finishes, finishes, finishes and then yeah, now he’s got that experience in the UFC. He’s got rounds, like, octagon time in the UFC, on the big stage.
And now he’s ready for a big show. This is like, his biggest fight yet. If he beats Petr Yan, he can fight for the t title… And also it’s three rounds. That’s one thing you have to realize, ’cause Petr does start slow.”