Newly topped UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan will discover to successfully defend his title for the predominant time when he returns to motion at UFC 259.
Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) will place his title on the twin carriageway when he takes on Aljamain Sterling (19-3 MMA, 121-3 UFC) on the predominant card of UFC 259, which takes dwelling Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The predominant card airs on pay-per-peek following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Sooner than their highly-anticipated bantamweight title clash, we elevate a discover at six fights which bear helped account for Yan’s MMA career up to now.
After winning the bantamweight powerful prix in Russian promotion ACB, Yan used to be handed a shot at the vacant bantamweight title, in opposition to the extra experienced 11-0 contender Magomed Magomedov. But, no topic conceding the abilities advantage to his opponent, Yan confirmed his all-motion battling type to the fullest in an rapid fundamental in Moscow.
Whereas Magomedov looked to relentlessly get the battle to the mat, where his grappling talents might maybe well also elevate over, Yan confirmed outstanding footwork and scrambling skill as he modified into the battle valid into a wild help-and-forth scrap that left both males bloodied over five thrilling rounds.
It gave the look of Yan used to be all region to issue victory when, after what gave the influence to be an innocuous clash of heads, the referee halted the contest with appropriate seconds supreme and penalized Yan with a yellow card for a headbutt.
That sanction proved decisive, as Yan misplaced out by technique of a controversial split resolution, and Magomedov claimed the vacant 135-pound strap. There were instantaneous calls for a rematch, but Yan would bear to abet for a year, and defeat British contender Ed Arthur, earlier than getting his wish.
On the precisely-monikered “ACB 57: Payback,” Yan and Magomedov met for a second time, because the calm-unbeaten Magomedov place his title on the twin carriageway in a single of doubtlessly the most eagerly-anticipated rematches of the year in Europe.
Feeling wronged by the occasions of the predominant meeting, Yan fought like a man possessed in the rematch, and he produced a intelligent repeat to outpoint the champion and ship Magomedov to the predominant lack of his career, wiping out the reminiscence of their controversial first meeting and capturing the championship belt he felt he deserved 12 months earlier.
Yan went on to defend the ACB title with a third-round conclude of the previously-undefeated Brazilian Matheus Mattos earlier than signing for the UFC.
After his two thrilling exploits in Russia with ACB, there used to be an right sense of anticipation when Yan made his octagon debut in Kallang, Singapore.
Matched up in opposition to Japan’s Teruto Ishihara, Yan took preserve an eye fixed on from the very open, and he rapid came upon a dwelling for his pictures. He used to be briefly taken down but with out note bounced help up and made Ishihara pay with a huge upright hand that decked the Jap fighter.
A spinning forearm then additional rocked Ishihara, as Yan moved in to complete the battle in spectacular vogue and get a huge assertion on his UFC debut.
“I had some jitters earlier than the battle because it used to be my UFC debut,” Yan said after his hold. “My team helped me, nevertheless, and as soon as I stepped in the octagon, it used to be fair correct.”
It’s been moderately fair correct for Yan ever since.
Following his victory over Ishihara, Yan reeled off three extra victories over Jin Soo Son, Douglas Silva de Andrade and John Dodson to impress himself a shot in opposition to a official contender, Jimmie Rivera, at UFC 238.
Many believed the uber-tricky Rivera would pose an acid test of Yan’s title credentials but, no topic dealing with arguably doubtlessly the most durable opponent of his career, the Russian passed with flying colors.
Yan got right here shut to scoring a stoppage victory at the conclude of both Spherical 1 and Spherical 2, as he harm Rivera at the conclude of each of the predominant two frames. However the teak-tricky Unique Yorker managed to preserve in the contest as he pushed “No Mercy” the total contrivance to the scorecards.
Yan did better than ample to get the nod on all three cards, although, as he proved his price as a hazardous novel threat to the division’s simplest at 135 kilos.
Yan had called for a title shot after his hold over Rivera, but as yet every other of a matchup with then-champion Henry Cejudo, “No Mercy” used to be handed a bout in opposition to an MMA story.
Inclined WEC champion Urijah Faber had by no contrivance captured championship gold in the UFC but remained a severe threat at the live of the promotion’s 135-pound division. But, no topic Faber’s big abilities advantage, Yan stepped up and produced doubtlessly the very best performance of his UFC career to crash “The California Kid” and place himself in pole dwelling for a shot at the title.
After rapid finding his rhythm in the outlet round, Yan loaded up and let dawdle with the hurry in Spherical 2 and dropped Faber with a slick two-punch aggregate. Then, after Faber rallied help to his feet, Yan decked him again, this time with an elbow.
Yan used to be in his element and looked as if it’d be thoroughly taking part in himself as he systematically dismantled Faber throughout the second round. And when the pair got right here out of their respective corners for the third, Yan went for the conclude, and acquired it in spectacular vogue, thanks to a thumping head kick after shrugging off Faber’s clinch.
Yan bowed to the crowd with a smile on his face that signified a job successfully finished, as he proved past any doubt that he used to be ready for a shot at UFC gold.
Yan’s performances had at closing earned him a shot at a title, and the Russian faced off in opposition to frail featherweight king Jose Aldo for the vacant belt at UFC 251.
The matchup used to be largely a technical striking contest, with Aldo’s keen counters combating Yan’s ahead tension and aggression. Nonetheless, aas the bout moved into the championship rounds, Yan’s relentless skill at closing proved too powerful for the Brazilian story.
After spending powerful of Spherical 4 walking Aldo down, and Yan caught up along with his man slack in the frame as he connected with a series of heavy pictures that forced Aldo to cowl up. A takedown adopted, as Yan looked to complete the battle with ground and pound, however the buzzer saved Aldo.
It used to be simplest a handy e-book a rough reprieve, nevertheless, as Yan dropped Aldo in the outlet seconds of the closing round. Yan adopted his man to the mat and this time, with out a buzzer to place the Brazilian, the Russian challenger unloaded a barrage of ground strikes that at closing forced the stoppage.
That hold over a bonafide UFC story observed Yan topped the novel UFC bantamweight champion, and he’ll discover to cement his dwelling when he faces Sterling at UFC 259 on Mar. 6.