Odds Peg Dillashaw as Underdog Against Sterling
T.J. Dillashaw can become a three-time UFC bantamweight champion should he upset Aljamain Sterling in UFC 280’s co-main event. While the UFC betting odds have him as the underdog, he has delivered as one on numerous occasions. In fact, he was an underdog both times he won the belt. But Sterling may be the most potent grappler that Dillashaw will ever face so this could be the fight of his career.
Sterling Yet to be Properly Respected
Sterling has won seven straight fights and looked great in all of them. He’s the only fighter to finish Cory Sandhagen, which he did in one round, and the only one to beat Petr Yan. And yet, the MMA community still likely knows “Aljo” as the guy who “faked” his way to becoming the champion.
Sterling should have put that to rest by legitimately beating Yan in the rematch. He cashed as a +340 underdog on the online sportsbook after he took Yan down and controlled him for the majority of two rounds. Say what you will about Sterling’s achievements, but he is the best grappler in the division.
Statistically, Sterling is landing just 21% of his takedowns. But once he finds his way around his opponent’s body, usually via a body triangle, there is little to no way they can escape. It’s how Sterling finished Sandhagen and how he defended his title against Yan. Even a savvy former NCAA Division I wrestler like Dillashaw is not immune to it.
Dillashaw Rises to the Occasion
When it comes to winning championships, few UFC fighters can do it better than Dillashaw. His win over Renan Barao in 2014 will go down as one of the best UFC bets in history. He then reclaimed his title by burying his archrival, Cody Garbrandt. Dillashaw was also an underdog in that bout.
Although he comes from a wrestling background, Dillashaw has evolved to become one of the sport’s best strikers. His connection with Duane Ludwig allowed him to put on striking clinics against elite fighters like Renan Barao and Garbrandt. And he’s still got the wrestling, as he showed against John Lineker.
There will always be the shadow of his positive steroid test. But that does not take away from Dillashaw’s ability to fight at a fast and efficient pace: 5.26 significant strikes landed per minute while absorbing just 37% of his opponent’s strikes. He edged Sandhagen despite “ring rust.” A warmed-up Dillashaw will be better.
Sterling vs Dillashaw Head-to-Head
The champion has some physical advantages here. Sterling is three years younger with a four-inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Dillashaw as he’s fought five times since Dillashaw was suspended.
Sterling vs Dillashaw Fight Information
- Fighters: Sterling (21-3-0) vs Dillashaw (17-4-0)
- Location: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 1 p.m. ET
- Sterling vs Dillashaw Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
Sterling vs Dillashaw Betting Lines
Sterling vs Dillashaw Prediction
This is deja vu for Dillashaw. Can he win and capture the UFC title for the third straight time as an underdog? Bet online that he will. We like Dillashaw to edge Sterling here for a few reasons.
The first will be Dillashaw’s takedown defense. Yes, Sterling will be a problem if and when he gets a hold of Dillashaw. But Dillashaw boasts an 86 percent takedown defense. Only Dominick Cruz has had success taking him down repeatedly. Secondly, Dillashaw is a more elusive and unpredictable striker than Sterling’s past opponents.
Sterling also has a habit of fading during his fights. He will have a burst for the first few rounds and put Dillashaw in danger, but the challenger will outlast him.