Aljamain Sterling

Funk Master

Jamaica

Shines in featherweight debut
FeatherweightUFC
April 13, 2024
Sterling defeated Calvin Kattar via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at UFC 300 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Making his featherweight debut after a long, storied run at bantamweight that included a world title, Sterling could not have looked any better in his 145-pound debut. Facing an opponent in Kattar who is known as a high-volume puncher, Aljo connected on 8-of-13 takedown attempts for 10:43 worth of control time. He closed with an 89-19 edge in terms of total strikes landed. Sterling was a massive bantamweight, so he shouldn't find himself as the smaller man too often despite moving up in weight. There are plenty of intriguing matchups for the Long Island native and Serra/Longo product in his new weight class.
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Featherweight debut forthcoming
FeatherweightUFC
December 22, 2023
Sterling will take on Calvin Kattar in a featherweight matchup at UFC 300 in Las Vegas on April 13, Marcel Dorff of Eurosport.nl reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling had been riding a nine-fight UFC winning streak that culminated in a championship belt and multiple title defenses, but that all fell apart last August when he was finished in the second round by Sean O'Malley. There's also the issue of Sterling's refusal to fight teammate and rising bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili, but that problem will be solved by Sterling deciding to move up a weight class. He'll predictably be at a slight size disadvantage upon moving up a weight class to face Kattar, though Sterling could choose to use his superior offensive wrestling skills to negate that. That being said, Kattar defends takedowns at an impressive 91 percent clip. Also, while Sterling's momentum was halted recently, Kattar has tasted defeat more often of late, as he's dropped three of his last four (granted, the last one was due to a torn ACL last November).
Title reign ends with TKO
FeatherweightUFC
August 20, 2023
Sterling lost to Sean O'Malley via TKO (punches) at 0:51 of Round 2 at UFC 292 on Saturday in Boston.
ANALYSIS
Sterling had some success poking at O'Malley with leg kicks in Round 1, but nothing of significance was landed by either fighter, leaving everything on the table in the second frame. It was here that "Aljo" attempted to switch stance after throwing a jab, which left him wide open for the huge counter shot that followed. Sterling was able to regain a level of composure after faceplanting, but optics were working against him, and referee Marc Goddard called the fight shortly thereafter. Grappling is a staple of Sterling's game, but he was unable to ground his opponent in this one, which left him at the mercy of the faster, more dynamic striker. While he called for an immediate rematch, the O'Malley victory opens up some interesting directions regarding the title picture, making it unclear who Sterling will face next.
Looks to defend title vs O'Malley
FeatherweightUFC
May 16, 2023
Sterling will take on Sean O'Malley in a bantamweight bout at UFC 292 on August 19 in Boston, Shaheed Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling defended his bantamweight crown against Henry Cejudo in early-May and will look to remain bantamweight king against challenger Sean O'Malley. Sterling's recent run has been mightily impressive, as the fighter hasn't lost since 2017. The younger O'Malley, meanwhile, has only one UFC loss on his record and should be a worthy foe for Sterling. Look for Sterling to employ more of his grappling in this one, as O'Malley on the feet is dangerous for any opponent.
Remains bantamweight king
FeatherweightUFC
May 6, 2023
Sterling retained his UFC Bantamweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Henry Cejudo via split decision (48-7, 47-48, 48-47) at UFC 288 in Newark, New Jersey.
ANALYSIS
Sterling had to work for it, and it got hairy at times, particularly in Round 5, but he appeared to do enough to win this fight. Outside of the final frame, the champion won most of the striking exchanges between the two men. He fired off countless leg kicks, leaving Cejudo hobbled by the time all was said and done. The grappling game was essentially a wash, with Henry landing 3-of-8 attempts, while Sterling connected on 4-of-15 tries. Aljo's cardio appeared to dip some as the fight progressed, which is concerning, but two of the three judges still gave him the win. The UFC brought Sean O'Malley into the cage afterwards for a face-to-face encounter, which all but ensures he will be the next challenger. "Sugar" is going to have an overwhelming advantage over Sterling in terms of pure striking skills, but Aljo figures to have the edge most everywhere else. These two seem destined to collide at some point later this year, and it seems as if the UFC hopes to do it in Boston in August. Aljo figures to be a slight betting favorite when the initial Vegas odds are released.
Cejudo bout targeted for May 6
FeatherweightUFC
February 20, 2023
Sterling (biceps) is expected to take on Henry Cejudo at the UFC event on May 6, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Sterling suffered a torn left bicep tendon in training and the UFC had to push to original booking of April 8 back a month. Sterling was able to defend his Bantamweight title last October against TJ Dillashaw.