UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling was removed from his title defense against Petr Yan at UFC 267, scheduled to take place on October 30, for medical reasons.
According to sources, doctors denied Sterling (20-3) medical clearance for the five-round fight. The UFC has not announced an official undercard change, but is discussing creating an interim title in Sterling’s absence, the sources added. The UFC 267 event will still take place on October 30 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Sterling (20-3) won the UFC title in March when Yan was disqualified in the fourth round of his title fight for landing an illegal knee. The 32-year-old fighter underwent neck surgery in April to treat a persistent injury that he had grappled with for years. Sterling’s neck is still a problem and the reason he was pulled out of the fight, he wrote on social media.
“As always, I like to share the truth and be transparent with my fanbase who really care about the health of the fighters,” Sterling posted on Instagram. “The training has gone well, but I have been struggling to get my body through two rounds in sparring sessions. The fatigue that comes on and the cramps still persist, which my surgeon said is because the nerves are still recovering. “he added.
Yan (15-2) gave up the belt in his first defense. The Russian bantamweight won the belt by defeating José Aldo in July 2020 and appeared to be on his way to beating Sterling when he kneeled him.
Before that disqualification loss, Yan had won 10 matches in a row.