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Aljamain Sterling calls for Diego Lopes at Sphere for UFC 306, dismisses Movsar Evloev

Aljamain Sterling is changing courses.

Earlier this year, Sterling made his featherweight debut, taking a dominant unanimous decision win over Calvin Kattar at UFC 300. The win earned Sterling a place in the featherweight top 10, and afterward, “The Funk Master” looked to fast track himself to a title shot with a fight against undefeated contender Movsar Evloev. However, Sterling and Evloev seem to be at odds over the possible matchup, and so now Sterling is shifting his focus to one of the hottest names in the 145-pound division: Diego Lopes.

“Stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll have some fight news for you guys. I’m thinking about Aljamain Sterling vs. Diego Lopes as The Sphere,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “That has a nice ring to it.

“Movsar, I don’t know what the hell he’s doing. I gave him a date, he hasn’t accepted yet. He started making all these excuses. Either you want to fight on my terms or I’ll go fight somebody else. So, Diego Lopes, if you oblige, let’s make it happen at The Sphere, September 14. Let’s get it!”

MMA Fighting’s 2023 Rookie of the Year, Lopes took UFC by storm after impressing in his short-notice octagon debut against Evloev. He then scored three first-round finishes in his next three fights, including an impressive win over Sodiq Yusuff at UFC 300.

Most recently, Lopes again grabbed headlines when he accepted a fight with Brian Ortega on short notice for UFC 303, and then fought Dan Ige on just a few hours notice when Ortega pulled out on fight day. Lopes not only won the fight, but he also won the favor of UFC CEO Dana White, who suggested he “will do anything” Lopes and Ige want after fighting under those circumstances.

Last week, Lopes called for a fight with former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, if the Brian Ortega matchup could not be re-booked for the planned UFC 306 card at The Sphere in Las Vegas. But with Volkanovski insisting his next 145-pound fight will be for the title, perhaps Lopes will settle for a different former champion instead.

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