In the first of three title bouts at UFC 259, Petr Yan will look to defend his bantamweight strap against number one contender Aljamain Sterling.

Who’ll win? Let’s see what the LowKickMMA staff think…

Jordan Ellis: I’m really torn heading into this one. Aljamain Sterling is a great fighter on a seriously impressive run. I’m a fan. The New Yorker should already be the bantamweight champion in my eyes. However, do I think he’ll achieve his dream at UFC 259? The simple answer is no. Petr Yan is 27 years old and only getting better. I expect him to cement his status as the best bantamweight in MMA by handling Sterling and retaining his belt tonight. It’ll take something special to beat Yan and I just don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon.

Prediction: Petr Yan

Alex Lough: This is the most intriguing fight on the card for me. I think Sterling is the toughest opponent Yan has gone up against, as both Aldo and Faber were past their primes when he fought them. Aljo has consistently gone up against some of the best the division has to offer over the past five years, and though he hasn’t always come out on top, that experience is invaluable. He’s learned from his mistakes and now fully understands how to utilize his grappling to best effect. Though Yan has looked impressive in his victories, I still think the UFC fast tracked him a little, and it will come back to bite him here. He’s never had to deal with the skill level someone like Funkmaster has on the mat, which gives the challenger a clear path to victory. It’s also worth mentioning that Sterling thought he would get this fight before Aldo cut the line, which means he’s been preparing for Yan for the better part of a year. It’s possible all that time means he could be over-trained, but I think Serra and Longo will have their star pupil firing on all cylinders. Sterling by Decision.

Prediction: Aljamain Sterling

Ross Markey: Despite its billing as the opening of a title tripleheader, tonight’s bantamweight title clash between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling is most certainly the most anticipated fight on the entire UFC 259 card for me, at least. It’s, on paper — as competitive a bantamweight matchup gets at this level. Yan has his fair share of questions to ask regarding his championship might despite his status as the division pacesetter, and in the form of Sterling — he’ll face a stern first test as 135-pound crown holder. The main and clear x-factor in this one is the grappling prowess of Sterling. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under former welterweight champion, Matt Serra, Sterling, on his night is capable of scoring a submission win over contenders ranked one to fifteen. I’m going with the East coast in this one. And New.

Prediction: Aljamain Sterling

Ty Rosson: This is the hardest of the three title fights to predict in my mind. I just see so many ways it could end for both fighters. Yan has some of the best striking in the division and if Sterling grabs you, it’s probably light out. For this coin flip of a fight, I’m going Sterling via third round rear naked choke.

Prediction: Aljamain Sterling

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.