The co-main event of UFC 267 will feature an interim bantamweight fight between Petr Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Cory Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC). UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira airs live from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this Saturday, October 30th. The main card will start with a fight time of 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, with the ESPN+ prelims beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Yan: 28 years old | 5’7” | 67” reach
Sandhagen: 29 years old | 5’11” | 70” reach
What have these two done recently?
Yan: L - Aljamain Sterling (DQ) | W - José Aldo (TKO) | W - Urijah Faber (KO)
Sandhagen: L - T.J. Dillashaw (SD) | W - Frankie Edgar (KO) | W - Marlon Moraes (TKO)
How did these two get here?
Petr Yan experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in less than a year. Yan won the vacant bantamweight championship with a fifth-round technical knockout of José Aldo at UFC 251. His first defense was scheduled several months later and Yan met former No. 1 contender turned champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. He found great success against his opponent throughout four rounds, but the fight would come to an abrupt end after Yan threw an illegal knee to the head of a downed Sterling and was subsequently disqualified. Yan became the first fighter in UFC history to lose a championship in that manner, which led to calls for an immediate rematch. One was made for UFC 267, but Sterling was still dealing with lingering neck issues stemming from recent surgery and could not receive medical clearance to compete. Sterling was out, and Cory Sandhagen was in.
Sandhagen went from promotional newcomer to ranked contender in a few fights. After he finished Austin Arnett, Iuri Alcantara and Mario Bautista, ‘The Sandman’ received a step up in competition in his next two Octagon appearances. Sandhagen bested John Lineker by split decision and defeated Raphael Assuncao by unanimous decision before he was thrown into a bantamweight title eliminator against Aljamain Sterling. He lost that fight via first-round rear-naked choke at UFC 250. Sandhagen returned to the win column with knockouts over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar and found himself back in title contention. Another win would have further solidified his status as next title challenger, but he dropped a split decision to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Vegas 32 this past July. A close fight against Dillashaw did not damage his stock, so when Sterling fell out of the fight against Yan, Sandhagen was tapped to replace him.
Why should you care?
Yan vs. Sandhagen has ‘Fight of the Year’ written all over it. That is why you should care. Oh, and whoever wins sets up a rematch with Sterling anyway, so that should be interesting.