With many in the mixed martial arts community split on the scoring of last weekend’s UFC 273 co-headliner between champion, Aljamain Sterling, and Petr Yan – former referee, turned podcast host and color commentator, John McCarthy has claimed that there is no feasible way in which Sterling won the opening round of their rematch – despite two of three judges handing the Uniondale native the first frame.

Rematching then-interim champion, Yan in the co-main event of the Jacksonville, Florida card, Sterling, a staple of Serra-Longo MMA, successfully unified the promotion’s bantamweight championships with a close, split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) victory over Dudinka native, Yan.

Since the duo’s rematch, many have argued who should have landed a first round win on judge’s scorecards, with many pointing to Yan’s aggressive approach and ability to force Sterling to fight from the Octagon fence, however, the defending champion would land a series of body kicks and other varied offense from his lower limbs throughout the frame – likely landing him the round due to overall activity. 

Suffering losses in the final two rounds, Sterling would, however, build up a concise lead in the second and third frames, amassing over three minutes of control time on Yan’s back during each frame – with many arguing round two, in particular, could have feasibly been scored a 10-8 in favor of Sterling.

John McCarthy argues Aljamain Sterling should not have won round one at UFC 273

Sharing his thoughts on the scoring of the title unification and in particular, the opening round – McCarthy, who has since tried his hand at color commentary for Bellator MMA – claimed there is no world where Sterling should win the opening frame.

“There’s is no way in the world you’re going to tell me that Aljo (Aljamain Sterling) won that first round, but I will say, I thought he fought a great fight,” John McCarthy said on his podcast, Weighing In, with co-host, UFC alum, Josh Thomson.”


“I thought it was a smart tactic by Aljamain to stay on the outside, to move continuously, but he didn’t land much,” John McCarthy insisted. “He landed a couple of kicks, not real hard, and he got hit with some heavy shots.”  (Transcribed by BJPENN.com)

In the time since their rematch, Sterling had offered to fight Yan in a trilogy bout next year, however, is expected to land his next title defense against former two-time division titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw – whom he called out immediately post-fight.