UFC 259 Gains Third Title Fight of Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling

By Jay Pettry Jan 8, 2021

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is stacking its March pay-per-view card about as much as it possibly can.

MMA Junkie first reported the news of this booking on Thursday, as Petr Yan (15-1) will look to defend his bantamweight strap for the first time against Aljamain Sterling (19-3). The two will compete at UFC 259, which takes place on March 6 at an undetermined venue. The matchup, which was once booked for UFC 256 only to get scuttled when Yan withdrew, has since been confirmed by ESPN. Should all three championship affairs stay intact, this event will be the seventh in company history to put three titles on the line in one night.

Yan captured the vacant throne at UFC 251, when he squared off against ex-featherweight king Jose Aldo. Yan battered Aldo to pick up a late fifth-round stoppage, thereby extending his win streak to 10 including seven inside the Octagon. “No Mercy” is just the second Russian champ to ever hold UFC gold, with the first Khabib Nurmagomedov. Yan’s sole career loss came to Magomed Magomedov in 2016, and Yan avenged it a year later.

Sterling has rattled off five consecutive wins following a 2017 knockout defeat to Marlon Moraes. Along the way, Sterling hit an ultra-rare “Suloev stretch” kneebar on Cody Stamann at UFC 228 in 2018. His most recent performance in a title eliminator to Cory Sandhagen came in dramatic fashion, as he pulled off a rear-naked choke in just 88 seconds to secure the victory. Since that win in June 2020, Sterling has been campaigning hard for his title shot.

UFC 259 will take place on March 6 at a currently undisclosed location, likely either at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas or in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This embarrassment of riches card is capped off with a light heavyweight championship affair pitting Jan Blachowicz against middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya. The co-headliner sees Amanda Nunes put her featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson, while Yan-Sterling falls below this match. Other major fights on the card include Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic at light heavyweight, and Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney at 135 pounds.

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