In an exciting turn of events, Aljamain Sterling, the former bantamweight champion, has made a bold prediction for the upcoming UFC 298 fight between his teammate Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo. Sterling, known as "The Funkmaster," believes that Dvalishvili will outlast Cejudo and secure a well-deserved victory.
Dvalishvili, with an impressive MMA record of 16-4 (9-2 UFC), will face Cejudo (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) on February 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. This highly anticipated fight will be part of the main card, which will air on pay-per-view following prelims expected on ESPN and ESPN+.
Sterling's confidence in Dvalishvili stems from his own experience in facing Cejudo in a close five-round battle at UFC 288. Having firsthand knowledge of both fighters, Sterling anticipates that Dvalishvili's relentless pace and superior cardio will be too much for Cejudo to handle.
"I think Henry Cejudo is going to be competitive for all of three to four minutes, maybe the whole first round," Sterling confidently stated on his YouTube channel. "But after that, you’re going to start to see a significant dip in the output, and the confusion Henry is going to have, I think, if Merab stays dialed in and focuses on what he needs to do, doesn’t rush in, doesn’t make any mistakes."
Sterling also highlighted Cejudo's proficiency in the karate stance and cautioned against rushing in, as Cejudo possesses a powerful right hand. However, he firmly believes that Dvalishvili's strategic approach and unique skills will lead to his victory.
With both fighters boasting a strong grappling base, Sterling finds similarities between Cejudo and Dvalishvili on paper. He acknowledges that their striking abilities and weaknesses make this matchup even more intriguing.
"It’s a very even fight when you look at the striking, when you look at what both these guys do well, when you look at things that they struggle with," Sterling explained. "Merab’s not the biggest bantamweight, but he hits like a bigger guy. I think Merab is going to shock the world and he’s going to shock Henry Cejudo come Feb. 17."
As the UFC 298 fight approaches, the anticipation for this clash of talented fighters continues to grow. Aljamain Sterling's prediction of Dvalishvili's victory over Cejudo has sparked excitement in the MMA community. Will Dvalishvili prove Sterling right and secure a TKO victory in Round 3? Only time will tell.