Former undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan has sent a chilling message to short-notice replacement and upcoming UFC 267 opponent, the #3 ranked contender, Cory ‘The Sandman’ Sandhagen ahead of their interim bantamweight title bout on ‘Fight Island’ — claiming he’s going to “smash” the Colorado native.
Yan, who was initially scheduled to rematch arch-rival and current bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling on October 30. — saw the bout shelved after the latter failed to obtain medical clearance to compete on ‘Fight Island’ as he continues to deal with nerve and neck issues off the back of recent neck surgery.
The pair first clashed at UFC 259 in March as part of a championship tripleheader, with Yan dropping the undisputed crown off the back of an illegal knee in the fourth round to a downed Sterling, resulting in a disqualification loss.
With the removal of Sterling from the championship pairing at the end of this month, the promotion eventually landed on recent headliner, Elevation Fight Team mainstay, Sandhagen as the new opponent for Yan, as well as introducing an interim title to the division amid Sterling’s removal.
The 29-year-old last featured in the main event of UFC Vegas 32 in July, tackling the returning former two-time bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw.
Competing over the course of five rounds against the Angels Camp native, Sandhagen dropped his first loss following an impressive two-fight knockout run over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar, in the form of a close, debated split decision against the ex-champion.
Posting on his official Twitter account, Yan shared a brief 20-second video titled “My message to (Cory) Sandhagen” — claiming that the bantamweight title belongs to him and that he is going to “smash” his fellow contender; “Hardcore dedication,” Yan said. “It’s my title, Cory (Sandhagen), 30. October, I smash you.“
My message to Sandhagen pic.twitter.com/lSdl07WT9q— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) October 14, 2021
Prior to his loss against Sterling back in March, the Dudinka native secured the vacant bantamweight title back in July of last year on ‘Fight Island’ at UFC 251 — stopping former featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo with a fifth round ground strikes knockout.
Briefly breaking down the matchup during an interview with The Schmo — Sandhagen explained how he believes he has more routes to success against Yan than he has against him.
“I think (Petr) Yan’s really good, but I think that I have a lot of ways that I can finish and hurt Petr Yan, and I think that my abilities and the route to success for me, I have more ways than I think Yan has in beating me,” Sandhagen said.
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