Petr Yan
No Mercy

Russia

Loses belt via DQ
BantamweightUFC
March 6, 2021
Yan lost his UFC Bantamweight Championship to Aljamain Sterling via disqualification (illegal knee) on Saturday at 4:29 of Round 4 at UFC 259 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It's the biggest mistake you can make in this sport in the biggest spot. Yan was on cruise control late in Round 4 and apparently well on his way to a successful title defense on the strength of excellent counter punching and elite takedown defense. Then it fell apart. Sterling had both knees on the mat and was clearly a grounded fighter, and Yan unloaded a vicious knee to the face that walloped Aljo into next year. The biggest issue here -- other than the blatant and intentional foul -- was the fact referee Mark Smith said just seconds earlier that Sterling was down and not to hit him. Now you run into the discussion as to whether or not Yan -- who speaks limited English -- understood the directions. Regardless, he is responsible for his actions. Yan stated after the bout that his pre-fight instructions were to focus on the hands of a grounded opponent, and thus he didn't check Sterling's knees. It might very well be true, but that's not an acceptable explanation and doesn't absolve Yan of his actions. Some people may be upset that a title changed hands via DQ for the first time in UFC history, but it was the correct call. The only saving grace for Yan is that the UFC will have no choice but to run this back immediately. Yan looked like the better fighter on Saturday before the fiasco came to an end.
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Fight against Sterling rescheduled
BantamweightUFC
January 7, 2021
Yan will take on Aljamain Sterling in a bantamweight matchup as a title fight at UFC 259 on March 6, MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Yan was initially slated to face Sterling in December, but the fight will be rescheduled as one of three championship matchups at UFC 259. Yan will make his first title defense after he became the undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion when he defeated Jose Aldo via TKO (punches) at UFC 251 in July. Sterling is coming off the best performance of his career in June, defeating Cory Sandhagen via submission (rear-naked choke) at UFC 250. The fighters are even in reach, but Sterling carries an edge in height.
Fight called off
BantamweightUFC
November 22, 2020
Yan will no longer face Aljamain Sterling at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Yan was slated to defend his bantamweight title in December, but the fight was scrapped from the UFC 256 card due to personal reasons on Yan's end. The promotion is reportedly seeking to reschedule the fight for a later date, but neither fighter will enter the Octagon on Dec. 12.
Targeted for December fight
BantamweightUFC
October 14, 2020
Yan is being targeted to take on Aljamain Sterling in a bantamweight matchup as the co-main event at a UFC event Dec. 12, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Although the contracts haven't yet been officially signed, Yan is unsurprisingly in line to make his first title defense against Sterling. Yan looked dominant in July as he became the undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion with a victory over Jose Aldo via TKO (punches) at UFC 251. Sterling has elite striking defense, and he's coming off the best performance of his career when he defeated Cory Sandhagen via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 1 of UFC 250 in June. The fighters are even in height, but Sterling has an advantage in reach.
Next opponent lined up
BantamweightUFC
August 24, 2020
Yan is line to make his first title defense against Aljamain Sterling according to UFC President Dana White, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
White had been previously non-committal on the possibility of Yan facing off with Sterling, but he finally acknowledged the UFC's plans in his post-fight press conference last Saturday night. Yan looked tremendous when gaining the vacant belt against Jose Aldo on Fight Island this past July, but Sterling is an entirely different test, and the odds would presumably be much closer for this proposed matchup. Yan may have the slight edge in striking volume over a shorter sample size, but Sterling has superior striking defense and higher takedown volume. Sterling has a four-inch reach advantage, but Yan would presumably look to close the distance to negate that and take advantage of Sterling's sub-par 51 percent takedown defense. Both are complete martial artists more than deserving of this opportunity.
New UFC Bantamweight Champ
BantamweightUFC
July 11, 2020
Yan became the undisputed UFC Bantamweight Champion on Saturday, defeating Jose Aldo via TKO (punches) at 3:24 of Round 5 at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
It turned into a rout when all was said and done, but this was a legitimate battle for the better part of four rounds. Yan looked calm and composed in the biggest fight of his career, but he still struggled defensively against Aldo. The former pound-for-pound king repeatedly peppered Yan with leg kicks in addition to landing stinging shots to the body. Yan responded with well-placed combinations of his own, and it appeared this fight would go down to the wire until Aldo suddenly gassed out in the later stages of Round 4. Yan poured it on from there. Yan was credited with 194 significant strikes landed, a new WEC/UFC bantamweight record. Overall, Yan landed 258 total strikes, with 113 of them coming in Round 5 alone. At least 75 of those were completely unnecessary, as Aldo was clearly not intelligently defending himself, yet referee Leon Roberts decided to allow the fight to continue for no good reason. Yan looked very good in this fight but he was facing an opponent in Aldo who was more than willing to engage him in a kickboxing match. His first title defense will almost certainly come against rising Serra/Longo star Aljamain Sterling, and Aljo isn't going to allow Yan stand in one place and unload combinations. The line for that fight figures to be tight, with possibly a slight edge to Sterling.