The UFC have made the move to fill their gap in December’s UFC 256 event.
After Kamaru Usman pulled out of his welterweight title defence with Gilbert Burns with injury, the UFC were left with a main event spot that needed filling to go in alongside Amanda Nunes’ defence of her featherweight crown against Megan Anderson.
President Dana White has revealed to ESPN now that the organisation are working on finalizing a deal that will see Petr Yan make the first defence of his bantamweight crown against Aljamain Sterling in December.
Yan, who is 16-1, won the bantamweight title back in July on Fight Island by knocking out the legendary Jose Aldo in a straight up war. Prior to that, he had knocked out Urijah Faber and defeated both Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson by decision to set up a title fight. He is currently on a ten fight win streak.
‘Funkmaster’ Aljamain Sterling has been on a tear in the division and is currently on a five fight win streak of his own. With decision wins over Brett Johns, Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz and impressive submission wins over Cody Stamann and Cory Sandhagen, he has been calling out Yan for a title fight ever since he won the belt.
Many believed that Sterling should have been fighting Yan for the belt back in July originally when the title was vacated by TJ Dillashaw following a failed drugs test. But the UFC opted to go with star power and handed the shot to Jose Aldo, despite him losing his debut in the division in a controversial decision to Marlon Moraes.
With Yan and Sterling finally set to meet on December 12th now, it is arguably Yan’s toughest test in the division. While Yan has the striking advantage in the bout, Sterling has a big reach advantage and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with serious grappling skills. If he is able to turn the fight into a grappling match, while Yan is no pushover the fact that Sterling is so skilled there will surely see him take the edge.
The reach advantage will also mean that Sterling is likely to stay at range and throw kicks rather than exchanging in a boxing match like Aldo did against Yan, where the Russian is most at home.
It will be an explosive fight however it plays out and is a more than worthy replacement for the much anticipated welterweight clash that we can now expect at some point in 2021.