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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Aljamain Sterling expects fun ADXC 2 grappling match vs. Chase Hooper, aims to show ‘what jiu-jitsu is all about’

Aljamain Sterling hopes he and Chase Hooper can put on a show in the ADXC 2 headliner.

Sterling and Hooper will face off in a no-gi welterweight grappling match on Jan. 19 at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi.

“The Funkmaster” was visibly upset after losing on points to Kevin Dantzler in the Fury Pro Grappling 8 main event less than two weeks ago, ripping the scoring system. Sterling criticized Dantzler for laying on his back but doesn’t expect Hooper to take a similar inactive approach – or at least he hopes not.

“Chase is long, he’s wiry, he’s got unorthodox attacks and things like that, so I think that’s what’s going to make him tough,” Sterling told MMA Junkie. “I don’t know how strong he is. I know he’s going up a weight class, 155 now. He beat Jordan Leavitt who’s a pretty solid grappler, someone I’ve grappled with out here in Vegas multiple times. I was pretty impressed with what he was able to do. But, yeah, I expect him to make it an entertaining match.

“I’m not expecting him to go out there and full-on wrestle me. I would like to go for some kind of submission, get some scrambles going. I just would like for it to be a high-paced, fun matchup to get people who have never watched jiu-jitsu, and they’re either fans of myself or Chase, to get them to want to tune in and buy in to see what jiu-jitsu is all about and what it can be. So, hopefully that’s what we get to give the fans.”

Former 135-pound champion Sterling makes his featherweight debut against Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 on April 13. Grappling a larger opponent in Hooper will serve as valuable prep for Sterling as he ventures into a new weight class.

“100 percent,” Sterling said. “I don’t think Calvin Kattar’s going to be as flexible as Chase Hooper and as well-versed in grappling as Chase Hooper, but I think this gives me the body type, it gives me the body weight to compete against, the height.

“So, I get to see all these different things with someone who actually knows what they’re really doing in these positions and they’re actually a threat of finishing submission moves against myself. So, this is all about getting prepped for the main goal which is UFC 300.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 300.

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