Report: Petr Yan unlikely to fight again in 2023

The UFC was planning a banger of a main event for their December 9th Fight Night card in China.

By: Zane Simon | 2 months ago
Report: Petr Yan unlikely to fight again in 2023
Former UFC champion Petr Yan against Merab Dvalishvili. - Louis Grasse IMAGO/Zuma Wire

Just recently fans found out that the upcoming November UFC Fight Night main event between Jailton Almedia and Curtis Blaydes needed changing on the fly. Apparently Blaydes picked up not one, but two ankle injuries during fight camp for his top contender’s bout against the Brazilian in Sao Paulo. In his place, former heavyweight title contender Derrick Lewis will be stepping in.

Lewis is coming off a thrilling first round knockout victory over Marcos Rogerio de Lima. A win that not only broke a three-fight losing streak, but helped solidify a new 8-fight contract with the UFC. Hopefully, the UFC can find an equally eye-catching replacement booking in the bantamweight division for this coming December.

Song Yadong reveals failed booking for UFC main event

While the fight had not yet been officially announced, it seems the UFC had been targeting a bantamweight top contender’s bout between Song Yadong and Petr Yan for their December 9th Fight Night event. While the card has yet to even find an official venue, it is expected to take place in China, and the UFC has already been booking regional talent for the date.

Unfortunately, in a recent post to his Douyin social media account (h/t Chris Presnell on X (Twitter)), Yadong released a short statement accompanied by screenshots of texts from his manager, stating that Yan could not make the booking, as he is currently recovering from injury. As such, it seems the UFC is hoping to find a new opponent for Song to keep him on the card.

A quick glance at the UFC’s bantamweight rankings shows that Umar Nurmagomedov, Pedro Munhoz, Dominick Cruz, Marlon Vera, Cory Sandhagen, Henry Cejudo, Merab Dvalishvili, and Aljamain Sterling are all without fights right now. Of those, Song has already faced Sandhagen and Vera—and ‘Chito’ is most likely fighting for a title next, even if he wanted the rematch.

Otherwise, Nurmagomedov is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, as is Henry Cejudo. Aljamain Sterling is talking about moving up to featherweight and Merab Dvalishvili has made it clear that he doesn’t want to fight for anything other than the belt next. Suddenly that field that seemed so wide open might just be narrowed down to two options: Cruz and Munhoz.

There’s always a chance for a wild card. Jonathan Martinez is fighting Adrian Yanez this weekend, its not out of the realm of possibility that the winner there would be ready to fight again two months from now. But, unless circumstances change for one of the other bantamweights above, it just might be that fans will get Song Yadong vs. Dominick Cruz or Pedro Munhoz on December 9th.

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Petr Yan’s injuries

At the moment, it’s unclear what Yan’s current injury might be. The Russian has tended to keep very quiet about any potential problems he might be facing in training. Just one month ago, he posted a picture of himself in the gym on Instagram with the message “We have begun!” Seemingly announcing the start of his fight camp for Song.

However, following his recent loss to Merab Dvalishvili, Yan did suggest that he had carried some kind of health problem into the bout. “I felt I needed physical therapy,” Yan wrote in an Instagram message shortly after the loss, adding that he “worked out every day for a week and believed that everything would be fine.”

Shortly thereafter, fellow UFC fighter and Tiger Muay Thai coach Rafael Fiziev revealed that Yan was battling a leg injury and something else “I don’t want to talk about.”

Back in 2022, Yan’s manager, Danny Rubenstein, revealed that ‘No Mercy’ has only very rarely made it to his scheduled fights without some kind of significant ailment to deal with. Heading into his title fight rematch with Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273, Rubenstein stated that Yan was completely healthy for that fight, which was a rarity for the then-29-year-old.

“His weight is good. [He has] no injuries, which is pretty much a first for him. Every other fight, he’s had some kind of injury. The Jimmie Rivera fight, he was in the hospital the week before the fight. So everything has always been, with Petr, very difficult getting to the fight. He’s always made it there and always performed very well. But the fact that he’s healthy now and no injuries, I think it’s going to be a good week for him.”

Yan ended up losing that fight via split decision.

Hopefully, whatever the problem is this time around, Yan is able to resolve it quickly and return to action. In the meantime, fans will just have to think about what could have been an amazing fight between him and Song Yadong.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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