In the co-main event of UFC 267, we saw a battle for the interim bantamweight title. Former bantamweight champion Petr Yan (15-2) was trying to regain some gold as he took on “The Sandman” Cory Sandhagen (14-3).
This matchup came together after the champion, Aljamain Sterling, wasn’t cleared to compete following neck surgery. Yan lost the title to Sterling back at UFC 259 in an extremely controversial manner. The former champion was completely dominating the latter half of the fight.
However, an illegal knee caused the fight to end and Sterling won the UFC title by DQ. It was also the first UFC loss for Yan who had started out a perfect 7-0 inside the octagon on his way to capturing the title.
Cory Sandhagen would have likely had a title shot against Yan earlier this year had Yan not lost by DQ. He was the clear number one contender, but was forced to sit on the sidelines waiting his turn. The UFC decided to book Sandhagen against TJ Dillashaw.
Dillashaw won a razor close split decision, but suffered a knee injury due to a heel hook attempt by Sandhagen. With Dillashaw out and the fight having been razor close, the UFC opted for Sandhagen as Yan’s challenger.
UFC 267 Recap
The UFC 267 co-main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Yan immediately takes the center as Sandhagen circles along the outside. Nice leg kick lands for Sandhagen. Good jab for Sandhagen as well. Powerful low kick from Yan finds it’s home.
Good right hand for Sandhagen who looks really sharp here early on. Powerful leg kick from Sandhagen nearly spins around Yan. Another jab and leg kick lands for Sandhagen. Massive left hook just misses from Yan.
Yan turning up the pressure a little but Sandhagen immediately retakes the center with a big hook to the body. Body kick lands for Yan and Sandhagen counters with a combination to the body. Another leg kick lands for Sandhagen.
Good combination from Sandhagen and then Sandhagen gets a body lock on Yan. Yan walks to the cage and is able to separate. Another good combination lands for Sandhagen. Powerful body kick lands for Petr Yan. Both men exchange big leg kicks.
Sandhagen doubling up on the jab. Early on the reach is a massive advantage for Sandhagen. Body kick from Sandhagen. Lead left hook and jab lands for Sandhagen. Lots of pressure from Sandhagen who shoots for another takedown.
Big elbow lands for the former UFC champion. Calf kick from Yan lands just as the round ends. Great first round for The Sandman at UFC 267.
Entering the second round at UFC 267 and the momentum is definitely with Sandhagen. Yan takes the center again to start the second. Body kick from Yan opens up the striking. Powerful leg kick from Yan lands. Another big body klick from Yan who is opening up more.
Sandhagen pushes forward and looks for a combination. Powerful rip to the body from Yan. Sandhagen unleashes his own shot to the body. Yan lands a body kick but Sandhagen again counters with a beautiful shot to the body.
Nice hook lands for Sandhagen and Yan counters with a leg kick. Body kick from Yan then he goes to the leg. Big left hook over the top from Petr Yan. Sandhagen is definitely slower here in the second round. Another big left lands for Petr Yan.
Sandhagen pushes forward and tries to get it back with his own big left hand. Huge combination from Yan lands just after. Nasty body kick from Petr Yan lands and Sandhagen opens up his hands to counter. Big takedown attempt from Sandhagen is stuffed by Yan.
Big elbow on the break from Yan. Sandhagen missing a lot more here in the second round as Yan plots forward. Nice left hand lands for Yan. Sandhagen landed some decent shots but round two at UFC 267 was all about Petr Yan.
I have it all even after two here at UFC 267. Yan takes the center again to start the third. Sandhagen is the one that starts the striking in this round with a nice combination. Nice spinning back kick to the body lands for Yan.
Sandhagen with a nice leg kick. Left straight lands for Yan and Sandhagen responds with a straight shot of his own. Hand fighting in the center and both men looking for an opening. Huge rip to the body for Yan. 1-2 lands for Sandhagen.
Both men displaying really good defense here in the second. Big uppercut lands for Yan and he lands a nice straight behind it. Sandhagen tries to answer but Yan’s defense is clean. Yan pushes forward and lands a couple of additional big shots on Sandhagen.
Sandhagen looks for his jab as he circles. Another big combination lands for Yan and Sandhagen tries to respond but nothing home. Massive body kick from Yan and then he follows it with a combination that drops Sandhagen.
Yan is all over him here and Sandhagen is trying to survive. A scramble finds Sandhagen on top but Yan scrambles and they are back to standing. Round comes to a close and it’s 2-1 Yan at UFC 267.
Entering the fourth at UFC 267 and Sandhagen needs to get some momentum back. Yan pushes forward immediately to start the fourth round. Sandhagen working his feints and lands a really nice straight right hand.
Yan counters with a big combination of his own. Sandhagen going back to his jabs which seems to be working here in the fourth. However, Yan is blasting him back with massive power, but Sandhagen is taking it well.
Clean counter lands for the former champion. Yan pressuring Sandhagen against the fence then unloads with a combination. Sandhagen is really starting to get busted up by Yan here in the fourth round.
Sandhagen shoots in for a takedown and is able to get Yan down. He tries for a heel hook but Yan slips right out and they are back to striking. Once they are, Yan really starts turning it on. Huge shots up top and huge shots to the body lands for Yan.
Sandhagen is looking hurt to me here in the fourth round. Another massive combination from Yan lands and Sandhagen is starting to swell up. Huge shot lands for Yan which forces a Sandhagen shot. Yan is in complete control here. The round ends and it’s 3-1 Yan at UFC 267.
Entering the final round and Cory Sandhagen needs a finish at UFC 267. Yan immediately moves forward again to start the fifth. Sandhagen looks a little more fresh here in the fifth as he starts to work his jab.
Two good left hooks land for Yan and he spins Sandhagen with a low kick. Sandhagen looks for a flying knee but doesn’t come close. Big shot lands for Yan. Body kick lands for Yan and Sandhagen circles on the outside.
Yan plotting forward and looks for big shots but Sandhagen dodges well. Sandhagen looks much better here in the final round. Nice combination lands for Sandhagen. Huge head kick from Yan lands right on the chin and Sandhagen just eats it.
Sandhagen pushes forward and rips to the body to counter. Nice uppercut lands for Yan as Sandhagen circles. Another good combination from Yan. Body kick from Sandhagen and Yan again plots forward. Big spinning back fist lands for Yan then he lands a clean left straight.
Nice knee from Sandhagen and these two just throw down as the final round comes to a close. Insane fight and Petr Yan should be getting UFC gold wrapped around his waste.
Petr Yan def. Cory Sandhagen by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)