Rising bantamweight star Petr Yan has confirmed that he will remain a UFC fighter, signing a four-fight contract with the promotion after an outstanding first year.
Yan took to Twitter to announce his new contract and also teased fans that he had agreed to another fight in the near future, just 12 days after his dominant victory over Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC 232. Ariel Helwani later confirmed that ‘No Mercy’ would be facing former The Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 145 in Prague, in what should be a classic battle between a rising star and the seasoned veteran.
This fight has the potential to be a changing of the guard moment for the bantamweight division. Whilst Yan only made his UFC debut in June last year, in his three fights with the promotion he has already proven himself to be one of the division’s most exciting fighters. In his debut, the former ACB Champion brutally knocked out Teruto Ishihara in the first round. He returned to the octagon just three months later defeating Jin Sin Soo via unanimous decision, earning himself a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus in the process.
Following his victory at UFC 232, Yan called for #6 ranked bantamweight John Lineker in what would have undoubtedly been the toughest fight of his career. The UFC had other plans however and decided to match him up against Dodson, who is currently ranked #8 in the division.
Despite an outstanding start to his UFC career, knocking out current champion T.J. Dillashaw as well as Jussier Formiga at flyweight, “The Magician’s ” recent performances have been lackluster. In his last eight fights, seven have been decided by the judges’ scorecards and in his most recent outing against Jimmie Rivera he simply seemed unwilling, or unable, to let his hands go.
At the age of 34, another decision loss may well place Dodson’s UFC career in jeopardy. On the other hand, perhaps a fight with Yan is precisely what he needs. The newcomer has already proved himself as a hugely exciting fighter who is happy to stand-and-bang and Dodson will certainly have the opportunity to strike. Regardless of the outcome, if he can produce just some of the quick and powerful striking he has previously displayed, his UFC career may be safe.
The fight is scheduled to take place at UFC Fight Night 145 on February 23. The event, which will likely see Yan’s first appearance on a UFC main card, marks the UFC’s first event in Prague. Several other bouts have already been announced. Jan Blachowicz will take on Thiago Santos in the cards main event, in a fight that has important implications for the light heavyweight division. Stefan Struve is also slated to appear on the card, facing Marcos Rogerio de Lima.