After silencing the doubters in his last title defense against Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling (21-3) looks to tackle his next challenge in the bantamweight division, as he takes on the second-ranked T.J. Dillashaw (18-4) for the 135-pound belt at UFC 279.
The event will take place September 10, according to ESPN, with the time and location still to be determined.
“Funk Master” Sterling, who is riding a seven-fight win streak that spans four years, opens as the early favorite in his third consecutive title fight.
You can check out UFC odds among other betting markets at Bodog:
Aljamain Sterling vs T.J. Dillashaw Betting Odds
Online sportsbook Bodog has you covered for all the UFC 279 odds, where right now the champ Sterling sits as a -175 favorite, with the underdog Dillashaw coming in at +145. That means folks who bet on the champion must wager $175 to generate potential winnings of $100, while a successful $100 bet on the challenger pays out $145.
Odds as of July 11 at Bodog
A closer look at those odds using our sports betting calculator tells us Sterling enters the five-round fight with a 63.6 percent implied win probability, compared to Dillashaw’s 40.8 percent implied chance of snatching the belt.
A tantalizing showdown between two bantamweight studs offers an excellent opportunity for first-time UFC bettors to learn the ropes. Our How to Bet on UFC guide provides tips on round betting, fight outcomes and much more.
Sterling vs Dillashaw Odds Analysis: The Champ Finally Gets Some Respect
The odds — and opponents — Aljo has faced along the way are evidence that the champ’s journey to the top has not been easy. The battle between Sterling and Petr Yan at UFC 259, in which Sterling was a +100 underdog, ended after Yan illegally kneed Sterling, handing the New York native a controversial bantamweight championship.
After that showdown, the narrative around Sterling soured a bit, and at UFC 273, he faced Yan again as a much steeper +300 underdog. The 32-year-old wrestled his way to a split-decision victory in a fiercely contested bout, demonstrating why he’s a deserving favorite against Dillashaw.
Dillashaw On A Mission To Restore His Legacy
Dillashaw approaches UFC 279 as one of the most successful UFC bantamweights, albeit with a clouded legacy of late. In 2019, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency slapped the California-born fighter with a two-year suspension after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance, stripping him of his belt.
The second-ranked bantamweight returned to the Octagon last summer in a Fight Night main event against Cory Sandhagen. A +165 underdog, the five-foot-six fighter shook off a bit of rust, trading evenly with the much taller Sandhagen on the ground and the feet before eking out a bloody split-decision victory.
At +145 against Sterling and now the underdog in three of his last five bouts, Dillashaw finds himself in familiar territory. He’s been in the fight game a long time, so when the cage door shuts on September 10, Dillashaw will look to build off his latest win with another sound performance.
Sterling vs Dillashaw Betting Preview
Aljo’s wrestling made all the difference for him in his last bout with Yan, where he controlled the top or took the Russian’s back to win Rounds 2 and 3. This time, Sterling’s performance on the mat will be even more critical.
Sterling leads all active bantamweights in control time (57:30) while ranking fourth in top position time (38:35). He had it relatively easy against Yan, whom he smothered for over eight minutes of control time at UFC 273. Dillashaw won’t go quietly fighting off his back the way Yan did.
T.J. rarely ever accepts vulnerable wrestling positions, which is evident in his outrageous 0.54% bottom percentage time, the second-best mark among active bantamweights. Dillashaw is also more accurate than Sterling at shooting for takedowns (30% vs 21%) while defending takedowns at a dramatically better clip (86% vs 41%), though it’s worth noting that Sterling, a submission artist, is OK to let fighters take him to the ground.
Dillashaw’s numbers look more polished, though Sterling has plenty of experience, too. Regardless of who wins, this bout looks destined to be decided on the ground.
Dillashaw Holds Striking Advantage
The last time Dillashaw met a talented wrestler was in a 2019 flyweight matchup against Henry Cejudo, who boasts a heavy wrestling background, including a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A -210 favorite in that bout, he chose to stand in front of Cejudo and challenge his striking. Cejudo wound up clipping Dillashaw with a sharp right hand, then securing the TKO after 32 seconds.
That strategy failed miserably for the ex-champ, but after two years off — and coming off a battle with a proficient striker in Sandhagen — T.J. is stronger than Sterling on the feet. “Killashaw” earned his violent nickname over the years by piling up seven KO/TKO wins, the most in bantamweight history.
Dillashaw has more experience in gritty standup battles, while also being a higher-volume striker (3.27 significant strikes attempted per minute) than Sterling (2.24), giving him the advantage if this fight stays upright.
All-Time Status On The Line For T.J.
Dillashaw is on the verge of all-time status. With a win at UFC 279, the 36-year-old would become the second three-time champion in UFC history. Randy Couture is the only other fighter to accomplish the feat, winning his third light heavyweight title in 2002.
The PED suspension clouds his legacy, but a win over Sterling would make Dillashaw’s resume undeniable. He has five title wins already, most in bantamweight history, including victories over prime versions of Renan Barao and Cody Garbrandt. Another date with UFC gold adds a cherry on top.
Sterling vs Dillashaw Betting Pick
In his rematch with Yan, Sterling showed his chops as a well-round mixed martial artist, competing on the feet and making up the points when the fight went to the mat. Unfortunately for Sterling, Dillashaw is also incredibly well-rounded with a history as an energetic wrestler who can pummel an opponent in a variety of different ways.
There’s nice value right now for a bet on the underdog Dillashaw, who might just be ready to reclaim his spot atop the bantamweight division and make history in the process.
Prediction: T.J. Dillashaw (+145) Via Decision
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Odds Shark Staff Sat, Aug 13, 4:03am