Petr Yan

Petr Yan resume review: Where does he go from here?

Following his highly disputed split decision defeat to Sean O’Malley last weekend at UFC 280, former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has expressed an interest in leaving the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Yan believes the organization doesn’t “have his back” when it comes to judging, though it isn’t up to the UFC who judges what fight.

Nonetheless, there is certainly a good reason for his frustrations.

Petr Yan came to the UFC with a record of 8-1 back in 2018 as the ACB bantamweight champion. His only defeat to date came following his ACB grand prix championship win, where he was defeated by current no. 4 ranked Bellator bantamweight contender Magomed Magomedov (19-2).

That defeat came via split decision in a five round title fight, and he would avenge that loss via unanimous decision two fights later to claim the ACB bantamweight championship. He would then defend it a single time via TKO in round three against Matheus Mattos (13-2) prior to joining the UFC.

Mattos’ only other defeat of his career comes to Magomedov himself.

Yan was fighting very stiff competition early on.

Upon arrival, Yan would win his first six fights within the promotion, ending in a third round KO victory over former KOTC & WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, before claiming the vacant UFC bantamweight championship against the most dominant 145 lb fighter in the history of our beloved sport, former WEC & UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

However, his downward spiral would immediately follow this fifth round TKO victory.

Yan was slated to face current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3) in his first title defense, a fight he was dominating. But an illegal knee late in round four would result in him being disqualified, as he lost his title in the process.

This was tough to watch, we all knew he should have walked away from that fight as champion.

Considering it went past round three, referee Mark Smith had the option of going to the scorecards with a technical decision, as he probably should have.

Instead, he chose to disqualify him.

Yan’s corner told him to throw the knee when he wasn’t allowed to and it cost him dearly. This one truly sickened the MMA fanbase.

Yan would win his next fight against top five talent Cory Sandhagen (14-3), a fight that saw him capture the interim title.

Now that a rematch with Sterling was about to ensue, fans were excited to see him reclaim his throne.

However, after five rounds were completed in the rematch, the judges awarded Sterling the split decision victory.

This was a very close fight Yan could’ve easily gotten the nod in. Though he clearly lost the second and third rounds, he just as clearly won the fourth and fifth, and he controlled the entirety of the first though not much happened on either side.

Many people still believed Yan to be the best current 135 lb fighter in the world though, and he was next matched up with Sean O’Malley (15-1), who again, Yan lost to via split decision.

Even more people believed Yan won this one.

Though he was out-struck 58-84 in significant strikes, Yan out-struck O’Malley 97-91 in total strikes, and he secured six takedowns to O’Malley’s zero. This was a really tough pill to swallow for him, as he tweeted “fuck the judges” immediately following.

The point of this is, Yan is still one of, if not the very best bantamweight in the world.

It’s extraordinary; Yan has gone 1-3 over his last four fights after opening up his career with a record of 15-1, his last fight bringing him to 16-4. Many believe he should’ve won all four fights.

Though he’s 0-2 against Sterling, he could handily be 2-0 against him. Not to mention, his only other two defeats were razor-thin decisions.

That means, of his four defeats, three come via split decision and one via DQ.

This man has never once convincingly lost a fight, not once. It’s remarkable.

Petr Yan could easily be 20-0 or 19-1 right now, rather than 16-4.

It’s hard to see this happen to a fighter, it often times changes them and their motivation. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to this Russian assassin, he has so much left to offer at 29 years of age.

Would you like to see Yan remain in the UFC, would you like to see him in Bellator or ONE?

Or, how about a move down to 125 lbs? He’s always been a very small bantamweight, the flyweight division could suit him very well.

What would you like to see Petr Yan do next?

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