Daniel Cormier doesn’t agree that Round 1 between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan was the deciding factor at UFC 273.
UFC bantamweight champion Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) defeated Yan (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) via split decision this past Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., where all three judges agreed on every round except the opening frame.
One judge awarded Round 1 to Yan, while the other two gave the nod to Sterling, which made the difference on the scorecards and resulted in Sterling remaining champion. But Cormier thinks the debate should have been about Round 2, where Sterling had Yan’s back for almost the entire round.
“It all boiled down to one round of the fight and it was round number one,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “But here’s where people are so confused in regards to the scoring of this fight. We have no consistency in judging. Round 2 was a 10-8 round for Aljamain Sterling. I mean anybody with two eyes should be able to judge that fight 10-8 for Aljo. So, if you’re arguing that Round 1 goes to Yan, we got a draw. Aljo still keeps the title, right? Nothing changes. We’re back at square one.”
No judge scored Round 2 a 10-8 for Sterling, and Cormier doesn’t understand why. In Cormier’s eyes, even if you gave Yan Round 1, it was Round 2 that should’ve been 10-8 for Sterling, which would have resulted in a draw and Sterling keeping his title.
“Petr got started a little bit too late,” Cormier added. “Round 4 and 5, as he’s done on so many occasions, they belong to Petr Yan. But you can’t have a guy bank three rounds as you head into the championship rounds and think that you’re gonna win a title. Very competitive fight, many people believed that it could have gone the other way, but I don’t think by any means it was a robbery.”
Although Cormier makes the argument for a draw, opinions on the contest clearly vary. UFC president Dana White said in the aftermath of the event that he scored the fight 3-2 in favor of Yan.