Former undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan has a new opponent for his UFC 267 appearance next month — in the form of the #3 ranked contender, Cory ‘The Sandman’ Sandhagen, in an interim bantamweight title bout in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Aurora native, Sandhagen is set to replace champion, Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling at the event, with the latter removed from proceedings and his rematch with Yan, after he failed to obtain medical clearance as he still deals with nerve issues amid recent neck surgery to address a lingering injury.
Hoping to clinch the interim crown and earn a re-run with Sterling, Yan initially met with the Uniondale at UFC 259 at the beginning of March, dropping the undisputed crown in the form of a fourth round disqualification after he landed an illegal knee to a downed, Sterling.
Per a report from ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto — as confirmed by UFC president, Dana White, Elevation Fight Team mainstay, Sandhagen will now step in for Sterling and tackle Yan in an interim title bout.
The bout will mark Sandhagen’s third of the year, following a July split decision loss against former two-time bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw where the former suffered a razor-thin loss — snapping a run of two straight, highlight-reel knockout victories.
Before his close decision loss, Sandhagen stopped former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar with a massive flying-knee knockout in January — after an October second round wheel kick knockout success opposite Marlon Moraes in a main event slot.
UFC 267 takes place on October 30. — with an interim bantamweight championship bout between Yan and Sandhagen added to a billing which also features an undisputed light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.