The past few years of Petr Yan’s career have been quite the rollercoaster.
Indeed, the powerful Russian fighter beat Jose Aldo for the vacant Bantamweight belt back in July 2020, only to lose it via disqualification to Aljamain Sterling in his first title defense. Yan would then win the interim Bantamweight title in Oct. 2021, only to lose the unification bout against Sterling in a close decision.
Yan dropped another close decision to Sean O’Malley in Oct. 2022. And now “No Mercy” has suffered his most complete defeat to date this past weekend (Sat., March 11, 2023) at UFC Las Vegas: a 50-45 drubbing at the hands of Merab Dvalishvili, whose aggressive grappling game and endless cardio had Yan on the defense for the majority of their 25-minute main event.
That puts Yan winless (0-3) over his last three bouts and just 1-4 over his last five. It’s a shocking reversal of fortune for a fighter who claimed UFC gold with a near-flawless 15-1 record.
Now, Yan has made a statement regarding the latest setback in his career.
“I was pleased with the preparation in general,” he wrote on Instagram in Russian. “There were several slowing factors — about which I thought and believed that I would manage! Flew to the United States, a couple of days away from the flight and started working. I felt I needed physical therapy! I worked out every day for a week and believed that everything would be fine.
“A week before the fight, they gave a roasting 5*5 breathed perfectly and began to race the weight,” he added. “I couldn’t think about canceling the fight since I was already on the field! I think it was clear that I couldn’t even move not to hit! Had to hang on!”
While it’s unclear exactly what Yan is alluding to, it sounds like he came into “Sin City” with some physical problems that only got worse as the fight approached.
“I know what I can do, and I know I can do better!!!” he concluded. “Need to reboot — make adjustments! The photo was from the training in Tiger 7 days before departure; that day I thought I could jump and hit anything in the sky. Thank you all for your attention — understanding. More holidays to come.”
It’s tough at the top of UFC, especially when you’ve been a champion. Everyone in the division has paid close attention to your fights, and coaches have spent serious time identifying flaws and openings their athletes can take advantage of. Merab Dvalishvili came into his fight with Yan armed with all the info Aljamain Sterling had over their two fights, and used it to counter every offensive and defensive move Yan made.
As Petr himself said: Time for a reboot.
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