UFC 267: Cory Sandhagen Steps Into Interim Title Bout Against Petr Yan

Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar, UFC Vegas 18
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 06: Cory Sandhagen reacts after his knockout victory over Frankie Edgar in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

According to a new report, Cory Sandhagen will be fighting Petr Yan for the UFC interim bantamweight championship on October 30, replacing Aljamain Sterling in the co-main event.

Cory Sandhagen will be competing for a piece of the bantamweight title at UFC 267.  ESPN reported on Tuesday afternoon that “The Sandman” would be replacing Aljamain Sterling against Petr Yan on October 30 for the interim bantamweight championship, following Sterling being removed from the bout after not clearing medicals.  Ariel Helwani was first to report that Sandhagen was the frontrunner to replace Sterling last week.

Current champion Sterling took to social media earlier on Monday to shed light on his removal from the title bout as was reported last week.  “The Funkmaster” explained that he had hoped for a December return following a surgical procedure on his neck following his March bout with Yan but that the UFC pushed for October.  Sterling detailed that while he had been improving in training, he was struggling to spar more than two rounds in camp and did not clear medicals which led to his removal from the fight.  Sterling did go on to say he had requested the rematch with Yan be pushed back before the decision was made to move on.

Sandhagen (14-3) is coming off a competitive split decision loss against former champion TJ Dillashaw in July that snapped a two fight win-streak.  Prior to the bout, Sandhagen had delivered electrifying performances with a head kick knockout of former title challenger Marlon Moraes and then a flying knee knockout of former champion Frankie Edgar that is in contention for Knockout of the Year.

Yan (15-2) is looking for both redemption and to further establish his dominance as his bout with Sterling was marred with controversy.  In March, Sterling took command of the first several rounds before he began to slow down and Yan began to dominate the fight.  In the fourth round, Yan landed an illegal knee (that he expressed was thrown in the heat of the moment) and the bout was called off, resulting in a disqualification loss that cost him the title.  Leading up to the bout, Yan was on a ten fight win-streak that included wins over UFC legends Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo.

UFC 267 is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.  The event is expected to take place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.