When somewhat disputed bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling was forced out of UFC 267, there was fan demand to see an interim title put on the line. That wish has been granted, as Petr Yan will now fight Cory Sandhagen on October 30th for interim gold.
Sterling was expecting to rematch Yan after he won the title in their first fight by controversial disqualification. However when doctors did not clear him to fight at UFC 267 due to lingering neck issues, Aljo was forced to withdraw from the fight.
This has led to people wanting to see Petr fight for the interim title, as many people feel like he is still the rightful champ. According to reports, this is what will happen, as top contender Cory Sandhagen has agreed to fill in on short notice, with the two fighting for the interim title.
UFC is moving forward with an interim bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 on Oct. 30, Dana White told @bokamotoESPN.
Reigning champion Aljamain Sterling was scheduled to defend his title against Yan, but failed to receive medical clearance. pic.twitter.com/MDxVv2hN9p
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 28, 2021
Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen Preview
The truth is that if there Aljamain Sterling is unable to compete, the Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen fight is the next best thing. While a lot of the hate towards Sterling may be unjustified, there is no denying that the complicated circumstances of his title win makes this interim bout easily justifiable.
Stylistically speaking this is an exciting fight between two of the best 135lb fighters in the world. While Cory is coming off of a razor thin loss to former champ TJ Dillashaw, TJ is out with his own injury, and “The Sandman” has long been looked at as a future champion, and has history with the current champ.
As for Petr Yan, this gives the former champ a chance to stay busy and continue on working to prove that he is still the best bantamweight in the world, by taking out a top contender like Cory Sandhagen. While it is disappointing that this situation is as complicated as it is, it is hard to make a bad fight at the top of the shark tank that is bantamweight.