Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim Bantamweight champion, Petr Yan, will be unable to make it to his upcoming bout 135-pound title unification bout with division champion, Aljamain Sterling, at UFC 273 next month with the same amount of help that he’s accustomed to in the past.
According to Tass’ Igor Lazorin, the Russian titleholder’s cornermen have been denied their Visa requests from the United States government. Yan, however, is fine to come and go as he’s had a U.S. Visa for three years. Lazorin suggested the possibility of Khabib Nurmagomedov assisting his fellow countryman.
Yan is set to rematch Sterling, on April 9, 2022, inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The bitter rivals first met at UFC 259 in March 2021 when the roles were reversed (excluding any interim gold).
Late into the fourth round, Yan landed an illegal knee to a downed Sterling from which the challenger couldn’t recover, leading to a disqualification and title change for Russia’s first 135-pound UFC champion (details here).
Sterling hasn’t fought since, undergoing neck surgery following the win. Now recovered and ready to go, the rematch takes up the co-main event spot at UFC 273.
Yan, on the other hand, went toe-to-toe at UFC 267 in Nov. 2021 with Cory Sandhagen to claim the interim crown. Dropping the first round on most people’s scorecards, Yan would power up as the action continued and secure a unanimous decision (watch highlights).
“No Mercy” has shown exactly that in his 18-fight career thus far. Having only suffered defeat twice, Yan (16-2) avenged his first loss to Magomed Magomedov in 2017 after their first encounter the year prior. Picking up a win between those two Magomedov bouts, Yan will aim to replicate those exact results when rematching Sterling.