Aljamain Sterling likely to defend bantamweight crown against TJ Dillashaw at UFC 279

American, who rides a seven-fight win streak, is expected to make second defence of title in September

Aljamain Sterling after his UFC bantamweight championship fight against Petr Yan during UFC 273 in Florida.  AFP
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A UFC bantamweight title between champion Aljamain Sterling and former belt-holder TJ Dillashaw is reportedly in the works for September.

US outlet MMA Junkie first reported the news late on Wednesday, with the championship bout to take place at UFC 279 on September 10. A location for the event is still to be determined.

A clash between Sterling and Dillashaw would certainly prove popular with fans of the sport, since the previously maligned Sterling would be making the second defence of his title against a former champion seeking to become a three-time UFC belt-holder.

Sterling’s most recent performance came in April, when he prevailed in his much-anticipated rematch with Petr Yan, the Russian from whom he clinched the crown in controversial circumstances in March last year. The rematch, initially slated for Abu Dhabi last October, went the way of Sterling via split decision.

The American, whose professional MMA record reads 21-3, has won his past seven fights.

Meanwhile, Dillashaw will bid to reclaim the belt he had to relinquish in 2019 having tested positive for a banned substance. The American had just failed in his quest to become a two-division world champion, losing to flyweight star Henry Cejudo.

Dillashaw, 17-4, returned in July last year, where he came through a testing assignment against Cory Sandhagen, winning by split decision, before a knee injury sustained in the bout wrecked his chances of another shot at the title.

Sandhagen went on the meet Yan for the interim belt at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi – Sterling was recovering from injury also – with Yan victorious by unanimous decision. The world’s lead mixed martial arts promotion returns to the capital on October 22 with UFC 281 at Etihad Arena.

Updated: June 16, 2022, 12:52 PM
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