Wells: No, Yan was not robbed of the title here. At times, it’s hard to swallow when the loser of the fight wins the final two rounds, but that’s what happened here. Many pointed to the opening round as being Yan’s, but forward pressure alone does not win a round. As a reminder, cage control is the last tier of judging criteria to consider if all else is equal during a round. The strikes were not equal in the first round, therefore, as two of the official judges appropriately scored it, Sterling won the round. He would clearly go on to win the next two rounds as well. No official judge issued a 10-8 in the second, which was the most dominant round of the fight by far, and I think deserved that score. Regardless, Sterling won three rounds here and we can move on to the next exciting bantamweight title fight. I’m sure a trilogy fight between these two is on the horizon at some point.
- Wells’ overall score: 48-46 Sterling
Hannoun: No, because a draw means the champion retains. The question marks were Rounds 1 and 2. Round 1 was very close and I can see the argument of giving it to Sterling based on the fact that he outstruck Yan. But I believe Yan was in control of that round by forcing Sterling on the back foot which is why I awarded it to him. Although none of the judges gave Sterling a 10-8 in Round 2, I think his complete dominance warranted it. It wasn’t only because he was in control, but he seemed to have Yan in quite a bit of trouble with his activity on the ground. In Round 3, Sterling got his back for the majority of the time which made it easy to score for him and Rounds 4 and 5 were clearly Yan because while he didn’t necessarily inflict serious damage, Sterling practically had nothing for him.
- Hannoun’s overall score: 48-48 draw
Bohn: Robbed? Nah. That term is way, way overused in MMA. A close fight is not a robbery, and Yan can only be mad at himself for allowing himself to take the loss here. It’s well known he’s a slow starter, and he allowed Sterling to very clearly win two rounds against him with another being a toss-up. He should’ve known it was critical to start the fight with the same intensity he ended it with, and he also made some tactical mistakes that his corner specifically begged him to avoid. There is certainly an argument Yan should’ve got the nod, but as I said off the top, it all came down to a dull, uneventful Round 1. If you want to score it for him, fine, but if you had a 10-8 for Sterling in Round 2, that would’ve meant a draw here, and Yan still wouldn’t have got the undisputed belt. A tough loss for Yan, and a gutsy, intelligent, and deserving win for Sterling.
- Bohn’s overall score: 48-47 Sterling
Official decision: Aljamain Sterling def. Petr Yan via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Official individual scores:
D’Amato: 48-47 Sterling
Lee: 48-47 Yan
Rodriguez: 48-47 Sterling