UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is set to defend his title this weekend at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and oddsmakers have booked him as the favorite in the co-main event.
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Former two-time champion TJ Dillashaw is the challenger at UFC 280 and will enter after beating Cory Sandhagen by split decision last year following a two-year layoff after a USADA suspension.
Dillashaw’s currently regarded as a +150 underdog, meaning that a $100 bet would return $250 total if he is successful on the weekend. On the other hand, a $180 bet is required to return $100 in profit on Sterling, the favorite.
Read on to learn who UFC fighters think will win the UFC 280 co-main event this weekend, courtesy of James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick series, as well as details about how to watch the fights live this weekend on ESPN+ PPV.
Watch Sterling vs. Dillashaw live
- Date: Saturday, October 22
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 2 pm ET, Prelims start at 10 am ET
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Order UFC 280 on the ESPN+ website to watch every main card fight live, including Oliveira vs. Makhachev, Sterling vs. Dillashaw, Yan vs. O’Malley, and all other fights. After ordering, fans can stream every UFC 280 fight to a preferred device, including TVs, mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, and more.
Sterling vs. Dillashaw predictions
I recently rewatched Cory vs. TJ and TJ impressed me a lot, coming back from his layoff from cheating, and Aljo really impressed me in his rematch against Petr. It’s a good fight. I’m excited. You can’t count Aljo out. I think TJ might have an advantage for whatever reason, I don’t know. But I’m excited about that fight. I’d like to see that one in the front row and see what that they’re all about. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I think Sterling would do well against TJ. Sterling’s in a good place in his career. He’s really solidified how he can beat people and like the way he needs to do it. He’s definitely proven he can do it against some of the best guys, like you know he beat me by grabbing me and taking my back. He beat Yan by grabbing him and taking his back. I think if he can do that against some of the best guys in the division, I think he can do that against TJ also. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I think Aljo got a lot of respect after he beat Petr Yan in that last one. I thought he won that fight. I’m rooting for Aljo on that one. Plus TJ, you know, once he got popped, it’s hard to like anyone after that. I gotta go for Aljo. He’s proven to be a decent champ. We’ll see how he does. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
That’s going to be a tough one. I haven’t seen TJ really fight, he’s fought just once since his suspension. It’s going to be hard to say. I think as a person I like Aljamain Sterling better so I’m going to go with him. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I’d root for Aljo in that fight. I’d want Aljo to win. Stylistically, though, I think that TJ poses a lot of problems for Aljo. The way he can switch stances, how good his wrestling is, how good his takedown defense is. A lot of people underestimate how good TJ is as a grappler. I’ve trained with him and he’s elite on the ground. So is Aljo, but TJ is too competitive, I really think TJ beats him and I really hope that doesn’t happen because I don’t even think TJ belongs in the UFC after all of his drug use — fuck that guy. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I’m going to pick Aljo for that one. He looked really good against Petr Yan last time. He’s a little bit longer than Dillashaw. You know, Dillashaw is a great, great athlete and a really good fighter, but I think that Aljo if he can get a hold of Petr Yan and take him down and avoid his striking, he should be able to do that against Dillashaw. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
Tough one again. I’m not a big fan of TJ, to be honest, because of all the shit that has happened, and I think Aljo is a lot better than what he gets credit for. The striking goes to TJ and TJ can wrestle as well but I just think Aljo is so good at what he does. He’s a lot bigger than TJ. TJ isn’t a massive guy at the weight. I think Aljo can do it. He can put him in a bad spot. We’ve seen Sandhagen have a bit of success at distance and I think if Aljo can get back, he’s so strong and so big and good at what he does. Especially with the layoff TJ has had, I think Aljo does it by submission. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
Man, I’m not going to lie. I’ve probably given Aljo a hard time going into his last few fights and maybe not believing in him as much as I should have. I gave him no shot in his first chance in his Petr Yan, and that one ended up largely as I suspected how it was going to go. The second fight, again, I didn’t really give him much of a shot at all and he proved me wrong. He fixed those holes in his game and got better. He essentially proved himself right that he had a bad weight cut or wasn’t eating correctly or feeling good, or just had a bad performance.
Had the second Petr Yan fight not happened, I’d lean heavily on Dillashaw. But it’s more 50/50 for me now. I think Aljo has got the momentum. I think he believes in himself. I think Dillashaw is the better striker. I think once they’re on the mat I think that Aljo is the better grappler. So, I think that if Aljo starts fast and can jump on Dillashaw right away and slow him down, wear him out a little bit, I think he’s going to be really successful. At some point in time, Dillashaw’s going to slow down. He’s got a lot of miles, has been doing this a long time and has had a lot of injuries. I’m not for a second going to shy away from the fact that maybe he was enhanced early in his career and is definitely not now.
I thought Dillashaw lost the Sandhagen fight, and we’ve seen what Aljo did to Sandhagen. So, I’d definitely favor Aljo but I think it’ll be close and competitive. If there’s a finish, though, I think it’s going to be Aljamain finishing Dillashaw. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
TJ showed me a lot when he fought Sandhagen. I didn’t think he had the speed in him but he’s still got it. I think Aljo can use the wrestling. He and Merab work out together, and iron sharpens iron. I hope he has a hell of a camp because he’s going to need to wrestle. On the feet, there is a skill gap. There’s a solid skill gap. I’ve seen TJ at the weigh-ins. I know he’s got this stuff on the feet and on the ground, and I think that’s Aljo’s best hope. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
Aljo is getting better and better. He surprised me and a lot of other people against Petr Yan. But TJ, man, he’s so good. I’ve trained with him. He’s mean and relentless. He’ll be in your face no matter what. You even saw it against Sandhagen and how he had a completely shredded knee. He’s not tapping. He’s not giving up. He’s right there and not giving up. He’s technically sound, a good wrestler, and he’s good everywhere. It’s a tough fight to kind of pick but also Aljamain looks so active, and he’s getting better and better but I know how good TJ is too. I’ll flip a coin, but I’d lean toward TJ, honestly. Just because I know him and how technically sound he is. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I think Aljamain. I think Aljamain will take him just from what I’ve seen of his grappling. I think Aljamain will take that. TJ is tough, man. He like let his knee tear up in his last fight and the other fight. His knee was ripped because of the heel hook. He fought and continued to fight for the rest of the fight with a torn ACL and all this stuff but after seeing Aljamain with Petr… I’m going to go with Aljamain. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
Very even. Aljo is another one — I knew he was really good. I recognized him as the world champion and he fought Yan but a lot of people resisted that. I didn’t know he was that good, though. When he got on top of Sandhagen and held him there and was all done with him in 44 seconds that was impressive. But I also thought he caught him. I didn’t realize Aljo was an absolute master of positions on the ground. Aljo on someone’s back, I’ve never seen anything like that. Gordon Ryan isn’t as good on someone’s back as Aljo is. I know that’s just one spot but I bring to you that a number of years ago that I’d pick TJ and be very confident but I’m not confident anymore. This is a very close match. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I’ve got a lot of love and a lot respect for Aljo. TJ is tough. TJ, even without the EPO or whatever, you look at the skill of what he does, it’s especially rare. My head is saying TJ, and my heart is saying Aljo. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
That’s a good matchup. Striking, definitely give it to TJ Dillashaw. Aljamain definitely on the grappling. Man, that’s a great matchup, and I have to go with Aljamain on that one, though. He really did a great job on his last fight when everyone was doubting him, but he went out and killed it, so I’m going to favor him. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I got TJ. I think his movement is going to be good. I think he’ll be able to top the takedowns by Aljo. But Aljo, if he gets the back, he can finish anybody, but I don’t foresee him getting the back. I think TJ points it out, and his movement is good, so I think he’ll win by decision. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
I’m going for Aljo on that one, man. I think he can probably get it to the ground, and I think his ground game is nasty. I don’t think TJ prepares jiu-jitsu the way that Aljamain is, and I don’t think his ground game is to the point that Aljamain is. That motherfucker is a surfer, man, he can get on him somehow and see if he can get that job done. (via James Lynch – MMA Pros Pick)
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.