The UFC’s bantamweight division has never been more stacked, and while the pot has been brewing a magnificent blend of fighters from all around the world, a Russian athlete has emerged within the division. Born in Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan, 15W 1L, has won the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship, after defeating Jose Aldo, on July 11, 2020 at UFC 251 on UFC Fight Island. Yan made a huge statement in finishing the King of Rio late in the 5th round, via TKO from punches. Yan entered the UFC on a 3-fight win streak in 2018, and since his arrival he’s won 7 fights in a row, his last one being for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Yan has lightning in his hands, and when he strikes, he punishes his opponents with his power. Since his UFC debut he’s gotten much better with his precision in his strikes, it’s very possible he’s now stepping into his prime, just as he’s becoming a champion.
The bantamweight division is full of worthy opponents who cannot wait to face the Russian champion, as he is welcoming the top contenders. The three that stick out and are on the top of the list are Aljamain Sterling, 19W 3L, Marlon Moraes, 23W 6L 1DR, and Cody Garbrandt, 12W 3L. Yan himself stated he thinks Sterling should be next, however Dana White has not confirmed as of yet, with who the Russian will be defending the title against. Moraes had a controversial victory over the man Yan defeated for the title, in Jose Aldo. It’s possible the UFC wan’ts to put that fight together between Moraes and Yan, however many fighters along with fans disagree, as everyone is considering Moraes as coming off of a loss. In this business you’re only as good as your last fight, and in Sterling’s last brawl, he had one of the most impressive victories in submitting one of the most dangerous guys in the division, in Cory Sandhagen, 12W 2L. Sterling is also on an impressive 5-fight win streak, closing in on the champion, and will stop at nothing for the next title shot. Yan is welcoming the New York native to a title defense, however the politics behind title shot contention on any division can sometimes be an uphill battle. One thing is for sure, we can expect a lot more stoppages by knockout from the newest Russian Champion, Petr Yan, in his upcoming season, but how long will he remain the UFC Bantamweight Champion?