‘Funk Master’ initially won the bantamweight title under controversial circumstances when Yan illegally kneed him, resulting in a disqualification. The pair ran it back a year later at UFC 273, this time going the distance, and Sterling had his hand raised via split-decision.
Sterling captioned the video with the word “trilogy” which may well be on the cards if he can defeat T.J. Dillashaw and ‘No Mercy’ can derail rising star Sean O’Malley:
Fans have reacted to the video from Sterling, with one fan happy to see the respect the two great competitors appear to now have for each other:
“Respect. Love to see it! Aljamain is such a great ambassador for MMA.”
Another fan added that they never thought they’d see Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan be so respectful towards one another because their rivalry has been so heated:
“Never thought that would happen lol, wholesome af though!”
Twitter user @stevedobronxs was happy to see the pair finally shake hands after ‘No Mercy’ refused to before and after the UFC 273 rematch against ‘Funk Master’:
“He finally gave u that handshake you’ve been waiting since the last fight”
Check out more fan reactions below:
Paul Felder gives his prediction Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J Dillashaw
Aljamain Sterling heads into UFC 280 hoping to make it two successful title defenses in a row when he faces former champ T.J. Dillashaw. Sterling’s wrestling played a key factor in his rematch with Petr Yan, but Paul Felder doesn’t believe he’ll have as much success against Dillashaw.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Felder stated that both Sterling and Dillashaw have an equally impressive grappling game, which will make it hard for either fighter to dominate the wrestling exchanges:
“I think you’ve got two really good wrestlers. Aljamain Sterling for sure has the ability to take you down, backpack you, wear on you, be on that neck from behind. And even if he doesn’t tap you, he’s just dragging those rounds on and winning rounds. T.J.’s striking is kind of on a different level than Aljamain’s a little bit… I don’t see either guy dominating the wrestling exchanges, I think it could be back and forth… I think he’s [Sterling’s] going to really have to work on being able to win the boxing and kickboxing exchanges.”
Catch Paul Felder’s UFC 280 preview here: