Thursday, June 30, 2022

UFC news, rumors: Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw eyed for UFC 279 in September

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Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw is expected to be on the agenda for UFC 279. The promotion is eyeing a UFC bantamweight title fight between Sterling and Dillashaw for their Sept. 10 card, according to multiple reports.

News of Sterling vs. Dillashaw was first reported by MMA Junkie. Dillashaw’s manager Tiki Ghosn told ESPN that Dillashaw has agreed to the bout. The matchup is Dillashaw’s first UFC title fight in three years — a failed bid against Henry Cejudo for the UFC flyweight championship. It comes four years after he successfully defended the UFC bantamweight title against bitter rival Cody Garbrandt. For Sterling, UFC 279 provides fresh scenery after two years of build-up and back-to-back fights against Petr Yan.

Sterling (21-3) won the UFC bantamweight championship in a controversial fashion at UFC 259. Yan, the champion at the time, landed an illegal knee that drew a disqualification. There was little debate over the legality of the blow. Sterling being awarded the championship, however, left a bad taste with some people. Sterling overwhelmed Yan with wrestling in the early rounds of their UFC 273 rematch and barely held on in the later frames to win a split decision to retain the crown.

Dillashaw (17-4) defeated high-ranked contender Corey Sandhagen via split decision last July despite a 30-month layoff. He suffered a knee injury in that fight that kept him out for nearly one year. Dillashaw never lost the UFC bantamweight championship inside the Octagon. He relinquished the belt in 2019 after adverse findings from his drug tests and was later suspended for two years.

More UFC news, rumors

  • Zabit Magomedsharipov has notified UFC of his retirement. Magomedsharipov (18-1) was among the most promising fighters in the featherweight division and all of UFC. He left just as quickly as he arrived. Magomedsharipov, 31, informed UFC officials of his decision to retire and released a statement on Thursday. “Disruptions of fights, and then health problems – all this did not allow me to perform/fight earlier. I have recovered now, but I don’t feel the way I used to.” Magomedsharipov was a perfect 6-0 inside the Octagon and last defeated Calvin Kattar, the latter of whom headlines UFC Fight Night on Saturday, June 18. Magomedsharipov was on the verge of a UFC featherweight title shot prior to his hiatus and was the No. 3 ranked fighter in his weight class prior to being removed from the list.
  • Jessica Andrade is bringing her special brand of violence back to the flyweight division. Andrade will fight fast-rising women’s flyweight contender Manon Fiorot in front of the latter’s countrymen and women at UFC Paris. Andrade steps in on short notice for Katlyn Chookagian on Sept. 3. Andrade (23-9) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and returned to her old stomping grounds to defeat Amanda Lemos with a first-round standing arm-triangle choke. Fiorot (9-1) has had her hand raised in all four of her Octagon appearances and most recently defeated former title challenger Jennifer Maia.

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