Sean O’Malley thinks Petr Yan let his emotions get the best of him against Aljamain Sterling.
Yan (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) was edged out by bantamweight champion Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) in this past Saturday’s UFC 273 co-main event, where Sterling was able to fully control him on the ground for almost two entire rounds.
Although Yan did a good job of not getting caught by Sterling’s submission attempts, O’Malley says he fought uncharacteristically. When one of Yan’s cornermen faced travel issues trying to make it to Jacksonville, O’Malley offered to corner Yan, but had he been in his corner, he would have told him to calm his approach.
“Yan’s takedown defense considering – I mean, other than the two times that he got his back taken, is so elite,” O’Malley said on “The Timbo Sugar Show” podcast. “His hips, hand on the head, he’s got sick takedown defense, but he fought so emotional from the beginning of the fight. Dude, so emotional. Those looping punches, he fought super emotional and I should’ve been in his corner and told him, ‘Yo Petr, settle down, bud.’ So I’ll take that L, that was my fault.”
O’Malley thinks people unfairly underestimated Sterling and had an inkling that he would change his approach. Considering the way the tide turned in favor of Yan before he illegally kneed Sterling in their first fight, O’Malley thinks Sterling deserves credit for overcoming all the doubt.
“It was impressive Sterling’s mindset going into that fight considering what had already happened to him in the previous fight, got manhandled,” O’Malley said. “Towards the end of the round, he was getting manhandled at the end of the fight. For him to go in with that mindset of not letting that affect him was super impressive. I think that showed championship mindset for sure.”