Petr Yan has one goal heading into 2022: pain.
As the UFC prepare to enter another prosperous year, we are treated to the already announced rematch between interim champion Yan and (albeit controversially) undisputed champion Sterling; we are just waiting on confirmation of the date.
The bad blood between the two is very real, first stemming from their first meeting at UFC 259 last March, when Yan cost himself the belt by throwing an illegal strike at Sterling, disqualifying himself from the contest.
A rematch between the two was considered and booked for UFC 267 in October, but Sterling was not medically cleared to compete after undergoing a neck surgery following the first bout, and the UFC had jumped the gun on the announcement before receiving clearance to do so. Yan instead fought Cory Sandhagen and won the interim belt over a five round decision, and now the stage is set for the rematch with the “Funk Master” next year.
Yan has the matchup on his mind, as he has issued a threat to the champion on his social media (quoted from Twitter):
“Friendly reminder that Alga is my bitch. This time I will destroy this little whiner even more impressive.”
The bout doesn’t have a confirmed date yet, but chances are it will happen before the mid point of the year. The champion is keen to get a more decisive win over Yan, calling him his “Russian nemesis” on his own Twitter account.
The bantamweight division is a murderers row at the moment and 2022 looks to be an active year for the division, with TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen never far from contention, and Dominick Cruz’ recent run of form alongside José Aldo’s resurgence. How will the title picture be different a year from now? 2022 has the answer in store for us.