An undisclosed injury has forced Brazilian bantamweight veteran Rani Yahya out of a scheduled matchup with top-10 contender Aljamain Sterling, and UFC officials are on the hunt for a new opponent. MMAjunkie first reported news of Yahya’s withdrawal from the December 9th event.
Yahya (24-9, 1 NC) bounced back from a decision loss to Joe Soto by submitting Henry Briones with a kimura at UFC Mexico City in August. The longtime BJJ standout has lost just once in the UFC’s bantamweight division, but it looks as if his quest for a second consecutive win will have to wait until 2018.
Sterling (14-2) had suffered consecutive defeats to Bryan Caraway and Raphael Assuncao after signing a new UFC contract, but has since bounced back with top-notch showings against Augusto Mendes and former bantamweight champ Renan Barao. The New Yorker is #7 in the UFC’s official rankings.
UFC Fresno takes place on Saturday, December 9th at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. The main card airs live on Fox Sports 1 and features a five-round featherweight main event between Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega.