Petr Yan brutalizes Jose Aldo to win UFC bantamweight gold

UFC 267 Preview: Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen

The co-main event of UFC 267 is by far the best fight on the card. Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen are set to face off in a bantamweight interim title fight. While Aljamain Sterling is the rightful champion, many are considering this the real title after the nature in which Sterling won the belt off Yan. The fight is incredibly evenly matched, both Yan and Sandhagen have skillsets that compliment each other. This fight has all the makings of being an instant classic.

Cory Sandhagen Can Prove He Is Of The Best Again At UFC 267

Cory Candhagen is only 14-3. But in that short 17 fight span, he’s legitimately fought the best in the world. He’s taken on former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, as well as contenders like John Lineker, Raphael Assuncao, and Marlon Moraes. Well get ready to add former champ Yan to the mix.
Sandhagen fights long and explosive. He is incredibly tall for 135 and uses it well. Against Moraes, we saw him use his length to keep the heavy hitter at bay and pile on the damage quickly, putting him away in round 2. The task in front of Sandhagen is more similar to TJ Dillashaw, however, a fight in which he lost via split decision. Yan has no real holes in his game and there will be almost nothing to exploit. To win this fight, Cory Sandhagen will have to simply be the better fighter on the night.
In Yan’s fight with Jose Aldo, Aldo found success with the jab early on until Yan switched stances to southpaw and kept his lead hand over the jab of Aldo. While Jose Aldo is one of the best strikers of all time, I don’t believe he’s anywhere close to being able to strike in both stances as Sandhagen is. Sandhagen will want to pay close attention to the stance Yan picks and ebb and flow with it, something I think he’s entirely capable of. If he can consistently stay on the jab, keep Yan coming forward into them, and frustrating Yan, he can really start to take off with the fight in the later rounds where Petr Yan usually comes on strong.
I believe that the wrestling of Petr Yan and TJ Dillashaw are close in skill level but Yan is more varied and creative whereas Dillashaw is based in American folkstyle. I think Yan can use the wrestling to negate a lot of what Sandhagen does but don’t expect Yan to run through Sandhagen like Sterling did; he’s improved tenfold since that fight. Sandhagen will want to stay off the fence against Yan and, fortunately for him, he’ll be in the larger Fight Island cage to do so.

Petr Yan Still To Prove He’s The Best In The World

For Petr Yan, a lot is on the line at UFC 267. After losing his belt via DQ against Sterling, many regard him as the best fighter in the bantamweight division regardless of who has the strap. Cory Sandhagen is simply the next contender in many eyes despite his loss to TJ Dillashaw. Sandhagen is young and tough with more experience than his record shows as mentioned above. Of course anyone would be rash to think that Yan would come in taking this fight, or any, less than 100% serious.
Yan is the shorter fighter coming into UFC 267 by 4 inches. Sandhagen is one of the only fighters aside from Dillashaw that can switch hit with Petr Yan. Going in, I’d like to see Yan set footwork traps for Sandhagen, drawing out his explosivity early on. The body will also be a good place to go for Yan as well, especially early on. Widening the cardio gap is of the up most importance for Petr Yan. We saw in the Dillashaw fight that Sandhagen has the gas to go the distance over five rounds. Yan needs to make sure to make each round more miserable for Sandhagen at UFC 267.
Petr Yan also has the tendency to start slow. This will not work against Sandhagen. While it still may take Yan a bit to get going, he needs to be firing on all cylinders by round two or else this fight can slip away from him. He needs to go to the body early with kicks and punches and he needs to drag Sandhagen into deep waters fatigued.
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Blaine Henry
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.