An interim UFC bantamweight championship bout between former undisputed gold holder, Petr Yan and the #3 ranked contender, Cory Sandhagen has been booked for UFC 267 on October 30. from the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE — taking co-main event honors.
An interim title has been introduced to the division after champion, Aljamain Sterling failed to obtain medical clearance to compete at the ‘Fight Island’ event after he recently underwent neck surgery to address a lingering issue. Still dealing with nerve issues in his arm and neck post-op, the Uniondale native is unable to make the walk in October.
Last featuring in the first of a championship tripleheader in March at UFC 259, Dudinka native, Yan suffered a fourth round disqualification loss to Sterling after he landed an illegal knee to the grounded contender — dropping his championship in the process.
For Aurora dynamo, Sandhagen, he headlined UFC Vegas 32 in July where he met the returning former two-time division gold holder, T.J. Dillashaw — suffering a close, razor-thin split decision loss. The defeat snapped Sandhagen’s two-fight winning run. ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto first reported the news as per UFC president, Dana White.
15-2 as a professional, Russian striking sensation, Yan is also a former ACB bantamweight champion, featuring eight times under the UFC’s banner in his three-year tenure so far.
Yan was undefeated in the promotion prior to his disqualification loss against Sterling — clinching the vacant bantamweight crown with a UFC 251 fifth round ground strikes knockout win over former featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo in July of last year.
Before achieving champion status, Yan stopped former WEC featherweight titleholder, Urijah Faber, as well as lodging a pair of notable unanimous decision wins over both Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson.
Boasting a 14-3 record from 17 professional fights, Elevation Fight Team staple, Sandhagen fills in for past-foe, Sterling on short-notice — having dropped his first UFC defeat against the champion back at UFC 250 in June last year with a first round rear-naked choke.
Rebounding in spectacular fashion, Sandhagen stopped both one-time bantamweight championship challenger, Marlon Moraes with an October wheel-kick, before besting former lightweight gold holder, Frankie Edgar with a 28-second flying knee in February — prior to July’s loss to Dillashaw.