Cory Sandhagen will replace the injured Aljamain Sterling and fight Petr Yan for the interim title in the co-main event of UFC 267 on October 30 in Abu Dhabi, sources told GIVEMESPORT's Tom Ward.
It is a unique situation as both fighters are coming off losses to current and former bantamweight champions respectively.
Sandhagen, of Colorado, will be looking to rebound from a contentious split-decision defeat to TJ Dillashaw at the UFC Apex on July 24 in Las Vegas. That loss snapped a streak of two straight wins via TKO fights for 'The Sandman'.
Sandhagen, 29, has won eight of his past ten fights overall. His only other loss in his past ten fights came against the current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. Sandhagen lost the fight via submission due to a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Yan (15-2) is also coming off a controversial loss to Sterling earlier this year.
ESPN were first to report news of this bantamweight pairing.
Yan lost the fight by disqualification in the fourth round due to an illegal knee on the main card of UFC 259 on March 6. It was his first loss since he dropped a split decision to Magomed Magomedov in 2016 in an Absolute Championship Berkut bout.
Magomedov handed Yan his first loss on the professional circuit, but 'No Mercy' would later avenge his defeat by decisioning Magomedov in 2017.
Yan and Sterling were meant to meet in a rematch for the title next month, but with Sterling out due to injury, Sandhagen has also been granted a second chance as he looks to strengthen his own case for a title shot.
"You all know that [Sterling] just ran away like a sneaky coward," Yan told RT Sport on Sunday.
“I am not going to sit and wait for him. I am going to fight.
“Give me any fighter, top-five, top-seven, top-10.
“Anyone who deserves to fight for the belt and I will get the job done.”
UFC 267 will be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jan Blachowicz and veteran contender Glover Teixeira.News Now - Sport News