As first reported by MMAJunkie.com, the UFC is close to finalizing a marquee bantamweight matchup to headline what will be the promotion’s first-ever event in Kazakhstan this summer.
Contracts have not been issued and the UFC has yet to make an official announcement but, according to multiple sources close to the situation, a verbal agreement is in place to slate bantamweight No. 1 contender Marlon “Magic” Moraes against No. 3-ranked Petr “No Mercy” Yan for the main event on June 13 at Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
This is a pivotal matchup for the bantamweight division, as the winner of the bout would presumably get a title shot against Henry Cejudo, who is scheduled to defend his belt against Jose Aldo in May. Seeing as how Aldo is coming off of back-to-back losses, Yan took a shot at Cejudo on Twitter while also alluding to his soon-to-be official fight with Moraes.
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) March 4, 2020
One of Aldo’s last two losses came at the hands of Moraes, who picked up a split decision over the former featherweight champion in December. Moraes (23-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a winner of five of his last six fights, but that one loss was by TKO (fourth round) to Cejudo, who defended his bantamweight title against the Brazilian last June.
Yan (14-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has yet to lose in the UFC. His last fight resulted in a third-round knockout of UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Hall at UFC 245. A native of Siberia, Yan has taken the bantamweight division by storm since joining the UFC. Besides his knockout of Faber, some of his most notable UFC wins include victories over No. 8-ranked Jimmy Rivera and No. 12-ranked John Dodson.
The fight between Moraes and Yan will be part of a UFC Fight Night event on June 13. It is set to mark the company’s first trip to Kazakhstan — a place that is home to many MMA fans and fighters. The event will air on ESPN+.
So who you got in this one? Moraes or Yan?