Former UFC champion Aljamain Sterling set to face Nathaniel Wood in Polaris 25 main event

Former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling will square off with Nathaniel Wood in a superfight at Polaris 25.

UK-based grappling promotion Polaris has announced an intriguing matchup for the main event of its September 30 card. In addition to an eight-man grand prix, the event will feature a superfight between former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and fellow UFC standout Nathaniel Wood.

The promotion announced the match on Instagram.

A BJJ black belt under Matt Serra and a former Division III collegiate wrestler, Sterling has established himself as one of MMA’s top overall grapplers. He has used that grappling talent to amass an impressive 15-4 record in the UFC since joining the organization in 2014. Of those 15 victories, four have come by way of submission, including a rare Suloev Stretch finish in 2018.

Sterling captured the bantamweight title in 2021 at UFC 259 when he earned a disqualification victory over Petr Yan. He subsequently defended the belt three times before losing it to Sean O’Malley in his most recent outing, suffering a devastating knockout in August at UFC 292.

The 34-year-old has competed in professional submission grappling before. In August of last year, he defeated veteran black belt Damien Nitkin at a High Rollerz event – although he won under somewhat dubious circumstances

Wood, meanwhile, is an accomplished MMA fighter in his own right. The Morden, England-based featherweight boasts a 7-2 record in the UFC and a 20-5 overall career record.

The Polaris 25 absolute grand prix

In addition to the main event superfight between Aljamain Sterling and Nathaniel Wood, Polaris 25 will also feature a talent-rich eight-man grand prix.

That tournament will showcase some of the planet’s top no-gi competitors, including ADCC champions Giancarlo Bodoni and Kaynan Duarte, as well as Polaris middleweight grand prix champion Roberto Jimenez.

Check out the current absolute grand prix line-up below:

  • Giancarlo Bodoni
  • Kaynan Duarte
  • Roberto Jimenez
  • Eoghan O’Flanagan
  • Fabricio Andrey
  • Izaak Michell
  • Owen Livesey
  • Marcin Maciulewicz

How to watch: Polaris 25 takes place on September 30 and will air live on UFC Fight Pass (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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