Tomorrow in the co-main event of UFC 267, we will see a battle for the interim bantamweight title. Former bantamweight champion Petr Yan (15-2) will try to regain some gold as he takes on “The Sandman” Cory Sandhagen (14-3).
This matchup came together after the champion, Aljamain Sterling (20-3), 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 Prediction
In Sandhagen’s last fight, I was incredibly impressed with how well he did on the feet. He was able to use his length to strike well from distance and even hurt TJ Dillashaw a couple of times. His range striking could come into play at UFC 267.
His ground skills are also something to watch out for tomorrow. However, it’s going to be incredibly tough stopping Petr Yan. Yan is the kind of fighter who gets better and better as the fight goes on. I’m expecting success early from Sandhagen until Yan figures things out.
If Yan can survive early, which I’m expecting, I think he’s going to really pour it on late at UFC 267. Yan won his first title on Fight Island and he’s going to win another tomorrow as I’m expecting him to flourish later in the fight and pick up a late stoppage.
Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO – Round 5