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Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen – UFC 267 Preview 

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This weekend’s co-main event for UFC 267 on Yas Island brings one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated matchups in bantamweight history when former champ Petr Yan attempts to reclaim UFC bantamweight gold against fan favorite Cory Sandhagen, who was put into this fight at short notice due to Sterling being unable to compete due to not being cleared to fight medically.

Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen – UFC 267 Preview 

In a bizarre series of events, the fight originally set for a Sterling/Yan rematch was first dealt a hard card with current title holder Aljamain Sterling out due to recurring neck issues, and with a covid-19 hit Rob Font unable to fulfill the slot ultimately left the organization no choice but to seek a replacement in Cory Sandhagen on just 5 weeks’ notice for the interim belt. Both fighters will enter this fight with a point to prove following their last octagon outings being less than favorable due to the controversial nature of the end result. The outcome of Petr Yan’s first title defense against Aljamain Sterling in March 2021 put an end to an incredible run for Yan due to an ‘illegal knee’ rendering Sterling the new champion by way of DQ.  

Petr Yan (17 – 2)

In the tenure from Petr Yan’s UFC debut up to the controversial match up against current champion Aljamain Sterling, Yan has solidly earned the reputation as one of the division’s most dominant and dangerous forces as a result of his relentless pace and ability to take out every opponent put in front of him. His run of victories since 2019 includes notable wins against UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber, John Dodson, and a dominant performance against Jose Aldo for the bantamweight belt on his last visit to Abu Dhabi Yan will enter this fight knowing a win brings a unification bout and rematch against Sterling to determine the undisputed bantamweight champ and right those wrongs from their previous bout.

Cory Sandhagen (17-3)

Since he burst onto the UFC bantamweight scene, Cory Sandhagen has taken full advantage of the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage of them all, finishing 6 of his 9 UFC fights in spectacular fashion and in doing so has commanded the respect of his peers and solidified himself as an undeniable title contender.  He has notched up wins against Marlon Moraes, John Lineker and perhaps his most impressive showing to date was a highlight reel KO of UFC legend Frankie Edgar in February 2021. Sandhagen will look to bounce back strongly from his most recent loss, a close decision to the returning TJ Dillashaw just 4 months ago. 

Who Takes It?

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This is one of those rare fights in the sport where fans truly don’t know who will pull this win out of the bag on Saturday. Yan and Sandhagen are both well-rounded and ridiculously active, and they tend to dictate the pace of the fight with their opposition. If Yan picks a game plan apart with his pace and ability to wear his opponents down, Sandhagen does it by cutting the distance and surprising opponents usually with a vicious knee and strikes. If we get a hard-fought decision at the end, or a knockout by either man, do not be surprised at the outcome at all. Both fighters will not allow for a weakness to be capitalized on, and if at a stretch that mistake happens, then you will have your winner. It’s simply a case of who makes a mistake first.

Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO

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Steven Irvine is a 31-year old writer out of Dundee, Scotland. His passion for MMA began in 2009 when he discovered a tape of UFC 100: Lesnar v Mir and has been hooked on the sport ever since. He created the podcasts "Steve's MMA Chats" and "MMA Lowdown" but recently joined the team at MMASucka to further contribute to the great sport of martial arts.

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