Aljamain Sterling has been removed from his upcoming UFC bantamweight title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267 this October due to injury, per a recent report by MMA Fighting.
According to the report, Sterling is experiencing lingering neck issues after underdoing surgery to repair an injury suffered back in his college wrestling days. It is unknown at this time how long “Funk Master” will be sidelined.
As of now, there has not been an official replacement announced to step in and fight Yan at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 from inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. However, it seems as if UFC is leaning towards an interim title fight involving Yan in order to keep him on the card. Bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen would be the front runner for such a matchup as former division champion T.J. Dillashaw remains sidelined coming off of surgery.
Sterling, 32, took home the bantamweight belt in a controversial win over Yan at UFC 259 this past March. Yan was winning the fight entering the fourth round but ended up hitting Sterling with an illegal knee that rendered “Funk Master” unable to continue. Sterling was hoping to solidify his championship reign in a rematch with the Russian fighter, but he’ll have to wait a little longer to get back into the cage.
UFC 267 will feature a main event clash between reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and perennial contender Glover Teixeira. Surging contenders Islam Makhachev and Khamzat Chimaev are also expected to fight on the upcoming PPV card.
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