Reigning UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling is reportedly out of his upcoming UFC 267 title rematch alongside former champion and arch-rival, Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan due to an injury.
Sterling, who was scheduled to take co-headlining status at the event, beneath an undisputed light heavyweight championship matchup between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira, is reportedly set to miss out on his October 30. re-run with Yan in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The pair initially met back at UFC 269 at the beginning of March, where Sterling became the first in promotional history to clinch a championship as a result of a disqualification victory, after Dudinka native Yan landed an illegal knee in the fourth round.
Sterling recently claimed that he was still dealing with nerve damage in his arm as well as neck pains following a surgical procedure he underwent following his March outing with Yan in order to address a persistent neck injury. Per the initial report from MMA Fighting reporters, Mike Heck and Damon Martin, whilst a replacement opponent for Sterling has yet to be determined by the organization, tentative plans are in place for Yan to feature at the event in an interim title fight.
Per a latter report from MMA Junkie reporter, Nolan King, the current frontrunner to match with Yan in an interim title fight is Aurora native, Cory Sandhagen who suffered a close split decision loss to the returning former two-time titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw back in July in a main event clash. Dillashaw is currently out of the running to match with Yan on short notice as he recovers from surgery to address to a knee injury suffered in his successful Octagon return.
Undefeated in his last six professional outings, Uniondale standout, Sterling earned his March title showdown with Yan back in June of last year at UFC 250 — stopping top-five contender, the aforenoted, Sandhagen with an eye-catching opening round rear-naked choke. The victory following prior successes over the likes of Cody Stamann, Pedro Munhoz, as well as Jimmie Rivera.
Clinching the vacant bantamweight crown as part of a championship tripleheader at UFC 251 in July of last year on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE — Russian striking sensation, Yan handed former featherweight champion an eventual ground strikes knockout defeat in the fifth round.