UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling can’t understand how the judges didn’t award him a big round for his dominant control of Petr Yan.
Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) defeated Yan (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) by split decision this past Saturday at UFC 273. He was able to take Yan’s back for the majority of both Rounds 2 and 3.
The judges ended up scoring those rounds 10-9 in favor of Sterling, and the champion thinks not only should he have at least been given one 10-8 score, there’s no way Yan won Round 1 – despite what John McCarthy and others say.
“I won a clear-cut decision and somehow, some way people are grasping at straws to try to say that this man beat me,” Sterling told MMA Junkie. “It’s fascinating. I got robbed from two 10-8s – at worst, one 10-8 round. Even if someone was crazy enough to try to score that round for Yan in the first, at best the fight’s a draw for him. That’s his best hope. Like, the guy did not win the fight.”
Sterling feels a sense of satisfaction this time around after their first fight ended with him claiming the belt because Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee. Sterling went on to explain that this time, the rounds he won were far more dominant than the ones Yan did, yet they were all scored the same.
“I felt I won the fight,” Sterling said. “You don’t get 3:54 of control time – the rounds are five minutes. The new scoring criteria for 10-8 rounds are supposed to be near stoppages and control time. And 3:54 of control time, ground-and-pound and submission attempts – how does he get a 10-9 like the first round? How does he get a 10-9 like the fourth round? How does he get a 10-9 like the fifth round? That doesn’t make any sense. There was a huge discrepancy in that round from all the other rounds. Even the third round was just as close with control time.
“I had about six minutes of control time, maybe – I think even more than that. So I should have had two 10-8 rounds. So in my head, going through the scorecards, I’m like, there’s no way. All these judges are crazy to not give me a 10-8 round. Even if they wanted to give him the first round, and there was no way in my head that all these judges give him the first round. I had to have won the first round on one of these guys’ scorecards. I out-struck this guy the entire first round, danced on him with my footwork, and he couldn’t find me.”