John McCarthy Sterling vs Petr Yan
Photo: DraftKings Nation

John McCarthy believes Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan’s decisive round at UFC 273 was scored improperly.

Sterling overcame Yan in the co-main event this past Saturday. He retains the UFC bantamweight championship in a back-and-forth battle.

The rounds from 2 to 5 were rather straightforward to score. But it was the tight first frame that convinced both Sterling and Yan that they had done enough to win the fight. One judge awarded Yan Round 1. The other two awarded Sterling Round 1, resulting in a split decision victory for the winner.

McCarthy, a former referee, and current Bellator commentator, is dissatisfied with the decision.

“I was very impressed with Aljamain and the way he fought, but there’s no way he won that first round,” McCarthy said, “The heavier shots were landed easily by Yan, and I thought it was a smart tactic by Aljamain to stay on the outside, to move continuously, but he didn’t land much. He landed a couple of kicks, not real hard, and he got hit with some heavy shots for a little bit, and right near the end, Yan really started landing some good shots.”

“There’s no way you’re going to tell me that Aljo won that first round, but I will say I thought he fought a great fight,” McCarthy said. “The second round is the one — this is the difference. He won that second round huge. Now he did not damage Petr Yan, so I can see why they all went 10-9 with it, but it was the clearest round of them easily for Aljo.

“So if you’re taking a look at it, the first round close,” he continued. “Fourth round, fifth round close, but Petr Yan wins them. Second, third round easy for Aljamain Sterling, so I’m not upset with him winning the fight. I thought he actually fought a very smart fight. He fought well, and you’ve got to give props. He won the belt the way it’s supposed to be won.”

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McCarthy mentioned Sterling winning the opening round and other MMA fans agreed. Yan chased ‘The Funk Master’ throughout the round while the latter landed more blows. The blows, according to the Bellator commentator, were insignificant. And ‘No Mercy’ should have won the first round, giving him the victory.

Sterling and Yan first met in March 2021, when ‘The Funk Master’ won the title when ‘No Mercy’ was disqualified for an illegal knee to the head of a downed opponent. After months of mockery from the MMA community, the American was ready to quiet the critics.

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