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Russia’s Petr Yan says US fighter Sterling must be stripped of UFC champion’s title

The MMA Fighting portal reported on September 25 that a rematch between Yan and Aljamain Sterling from the United States was canceled due to a neck injury of the US fighter

MOSCOW, September 29. /TASS/. Russian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter in the bantamweight category Petr Yan believes that Aljamain Sterling of the United States should be stripped of his champion’s title, Russia-based Arkhangel Mikhail fighting club cited the Russian athlete as saying.

The MMA Fighting portal reported on September 25 that a rematch between Yan and Aljamain Sterling from the United States was canceled due to a neck injury of the US fighter. The bout was scheduled to take place at the UFC 267 tournament in Abu Dhabi on October 30.

However, the Russian fighter continued with his trainings for the fight and was eventually pitted for the bout with Cory Sandhagen of the United States.

"Sandhagen is a decent opponent for the title fight, because he is a very dangerous and a tough competitor and showed an outstanding fight against [US fighter T.J.] Dillashaw," Yan said.

In his fight against Dillashaw on July 24, Sandhagen lost on a split decision of the judges in Round 5.

"Yes, he [Sandhagen] lost his fight, but T.J. is now recovering from a surgery and that is why Cory was given a chance," the Russian fighter said.

Cory ‘The Sandman’ Sandhagen is 29 years old and boasts a record of 14 wins (six by KO/TKO, three by submission and five by decision) and three defeats.

"To be honest, I am not satisfied that it will be the fight for the interim champion’s title, but this is the UFC policy and I’m not going deep into it," Yan said. "I am glad that I’ll be able to appear [in the octagon] and do what I can do because many people are waiting for my bout."

Former UFC Champion Yan held a title defense bout against Sterling on March 7, 2021 at the UFC 259 event in Las Vegas. The Russian fighter was disqualified after he dealt a blow with his knee into Sterling’s head as his opponent was on the ground (when one of the opponents is prone or kneeling) in the fourth round of the fight. The Russian lost his UFC champion’s title in the bantamweight category.

Russia’s 28-year-old Yan, nicknamed ‘No Mercy,’ won the UFC Bantamweight World Champion’s title on the night of July 11, 2020 after defeating Brazil’s Jose ‘Junior’ Aldo with a technical knockout in the 5th round.

The Russian fighter from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg has a record of 15 wins (seven by KO/TKO, one by submission and seven by decision) and two defeats.

Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling, 32, holds a record of 20 wins (two by KO/TKO, eight by submission, nine by decision, one after Yan’s disqualification) and three defeats.

The UFC (the Ultimate Fighting Championship) is the largest MMA (mixed martial arts) promotion event around the globe featuring world’s top-rank fighters. Many Russian fighters are participating in the UFC competitions.