Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan UFC 273 Odds, Pick, Prediction: How To Bet Bantamweight Title Fight

Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan UFC 273 Odds, Pick, Prediction: How To Bet Bantamweight Title Fight article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC opponents Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

  • UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling will defend his belt against Petr Yan in a rematch of their controversial title fight.
  • Yan is a massive favorite despite losing by DQ in the first fight.
  • Will the 'Funk Master' pull the upset? Sean Zerillo explains how to bet the UFC 273 co-main event.

Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan Odds

Sterling Odds
Yan Odds
4.5 (-125 / -105)
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Fla.
Approx. 11:45 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via BetMGM.

Current Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and interim champion Petr Yan will finally settle their score on Saturday, following Yan's disqualification (illegal knee) in their title bout at UFC 259.

Yan led 20-19 on two scorecards (20-19 Sterling on the third) and was on his way to winning the fourth round against a tiring Sterling before the illegal blow.

The aftermath has been equally explosive, and the general hatred of the so-called "paper champ" may have contributed to the odds adjustment.

If Sterling pulls the upset and retains his belt, it will set MMA Twitter aflame. (I might not even see the main event; I'll be so distracted by my timeline.)

While Yan looked like a significant favorite in the fight that already played out, can you justify roughly a 30% odds shift from a pick'em to -400 (80% implied) in a matchup based on four rounds of action?

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time12:2415:14
Weight (pounds)134.5 lbs.134 lbs.
Reach (inches)71"67"
Date of birth7/31/892/11/93
Sig Strikes Per Min4.845.98
SS Accuracy49%52%
SS Absorbed Per Min2.204.14
SS Defense63%62%
Take Down Avg.1.771.75
TD Acc24%61%
TD Def41%89%
Submission Avg0.90.2

In hindsight, I made a bad bet on Sterling for the first fight, but I thought my process was sound at the time, giving the 'Funk Master' 1) grappling upside and 2) minute-winning ability on output.

Sterling landed more strikes (97-86 significant, 119-103 total). However, Yan was significantly more efficient (62% vs. 42% accuracy). Sterling was chucking straight punches, front kicks, and repeatedly touching Yan with shots, even if they weren't causing damage.

Still, every time Yan landed, the impact was noticeable — explaining how he won Round 1 despite a 34-14 strike discrepancy (and an 83-22 margin on strike attempts).

Yan is a highly patient fighter who uses the first and second round to gather information on his opponents before upping his tempo once he reads his opponent.

As a result, I typically look to live bet Yan after Round 1 or Round 2, when the moneyline tightens. Yan was plus money against Cory Sandhagen in the early stages after closing near -300.

While giving away a round is not ideal, it's not so bad in a 25-minute fight when that information and stamina advantage increases your probability of winning each subsequent round.

And while Yan may get off to a better start against a familiar opponent, I'm sure that he'll wait back and see what adjustments Sterling has made first before going on the attack.

So while the first fight may have looked competitive on the feet, I still suspect that Yan wins the final three rounds on power at increasingly more comprehensive percentages, especially if Sterling pushes a fast pace from the jump.

Failed wrestling (1-for-17 on takedown attempts) cost Sterling a ton of energy and momentum in the first fight. In contrast, Yan's offensive trips (7-for-7 on takedowns) and defensive abilities stood out as the most surprising factor in the matchup.

It's a bit of a catch-22 for Sterling in the rematch. He has to mix in grappling to stay competitive, otherwise Yan will tee off on him in the striking exchanges. But failed takedown attempts will cause him to tire out again and lead to him losing minutes or getting finished in the late stages.

There's a possibility that Sterling can find his way to a backpack position — as he did against Sandhagen — and take Yan's neck.

However, his best path to victory may be using his speed to avoid Yan at all costs. Touch him up a little bit, and then run around the cage. Sterling tried to force the issue and overwhelm Yan with volume in the first fight, but I think he can still win on volume with a lower-paced and more conservative game plan.

Moreover, Sterling looked (and said he felt) less than 100% in the first fight. Maybe it was an adrenaline dump, but he was slipping on the canvas and moving awkwardly — but not intentionally so. He also had a significant (and career-threatening) neck surgery in the interim, which is beyond concerning.

It's challenging to look like the best version of yourself against the 'Funk Master' because he fights so unconventionally and makes you think about many different things.

And I suspect that he can make this rematch with Yan look competitive early with his unorthodox style — but I'm not sure how he wins unless he can mix in some grappling success alongside the striking output.

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Sterling vs. Yan Pick

After betting Aljo in the first fight around even money, I project Yan as an 82% favorite (-456 implied) for the rematch, based upon regression of public prediction and betting data.

As a result, I don't see value on either fighter's moneyline or their winning method props, though I suppose Yan technically qualifies as a parlay piece closer to -400.

I typically look to bet all Yan's fights the same way: Pre-fight wagers on his Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5 props while looking for a live wager after Round 1 and/or Round 2.

And this matchup may support a similar strategy — particularly concerning the live market.

However, while there was a significant adjustment in moneyline odds since the first bout, the odds to end inside the distance have also moved from -150 nearer to even money.

I projected this bout to end inside the distance 58% of the time (-139 implied odds) and would bet that prop up to -115.

The Pick: Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+100) at Bet365

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