Welcome to The Weekly Takedown, Sports activities Illustrated’s in-depth have a look at MMA. Each week, this column provides perception and knowledge on essentially the most noteworthy tales within the struggle world.
If not for his personal recklessness, Petr Yan would seemingly be the one defending the bantamweight title this Saturday in Abu Dhabi. As an alternative, Yan competes in opposition to Sean O’Malley at UFC 280. The winner will probably be subsequent in line for a crack on the belt, which reigning champion Aljamain Sterling defends on the exact same card in opposition to T.J. Dillashaw.
After defeating José Aldo to win the title in the summertime of 2020, Yan then defended the belt in opposition to Sterling in March of 2021. It was a one-sided affair, with Yan fully eviscerating Sterling. However because the fourth spherical was nearing its conclusion, Yan interrupted destiny by drilling Sterling with a vicious unlawful knee to the skull. That instantly obtained Yan disqualified, costing him the title within the course of.
As an alternative of successful by unanimous resolution and eradicating Sterling from the title equation, the 2 engaged in a rematch this previous April. That was a title unification bout–Yan had defeated Cory Sandhagen for the interim title–and Sterling received that struggle, eradicating Yan, at the very least briefly, from the championship.
Earlier this week whereas making ready for his struggle at 280, Yan was requested whether or not he regrets that pointless knee to Sterling’s head.
“I’ve no regrets,” says Yan, who spoke by means of a translator. “No regrets. My focus is on making historical past by successful the belt for a 3rd time.”
Yan enters the bout in opposition to O’Malley having misplaced two of his final three. However all hope is just not misplaced for his championship pursuit following UFC President Dana White’s announcement that the winner of this bout would be the subsequent challenger for the title. That opens a transparent path for Yan to regain his place as the highest bantamweight on this planet.
“It’s excellent news that that is for a title shot, however the objective stays the identical,” says Yan (16-3). “I’ve to win. The title shot is an additional bonus.
“I’ve to undergo this struggle to be able to get the belt. All the pieces else doesn’t matter. That’s why I can’t give attention to the previous. I’ve to look ahead.”
O’Malley (15-1, 1 NC) is a harmful kickboxer, particularly in opposition to a shorter opponent. But he’s sorely unproven in opposition to the caliber of somebody of Yan’s stature. If this struggle strikes to the bottom, O’Malley will probably be in a dire place.
“I can’t say I respect him,” Yan says. “He’s my opponent. He’s my competitors.
“I’m prepared for him. This will probably be an early end.”
Will Jon Jones struggle in 2022?
Jon Jones has been speaking a few transfer to heavyweight since 2013.
Will that lastly occur earlier than the tip of the yr?
There are rumors that Jones is entertaining provides from the UFC concerning a struggle this December. That might happen at UFC 282 in Las Vegas, a becoming spot for Jones to return for his first struggle since February of 2020.
Whereas hypothesis of Jones’ comebacks most frequently ends with indignant tweets and inactivity, there’s momentum rising for a bout in December.
Jones likes to struggle on the finish of the yr, and this is able to be a large payday and an opportunity to lastly make an enduring assertion within the heavyweight division. However even when Jones is keen to return, a significant challenge is his opponent.
Regardless of the income it will generate, sources near the UFC have shared that the group is cool on the thought of Jones in opposition to Stipe Miocic. The right selection is Francis Ngannou, however he’ll want a brand new contract and a complete lot extra money to even think about that struggle.
Transferring to heavyweight and successful the belt would additional solidify Jones’ legacy. Jones has his detractors, and rightfully in order he has made a slew of unhealthy choices, however it will be a can’t-miss second if he had been to step again into the Octagon, particularly in opposition to Ngannou. There isn’t a higher method to headline 282.
The Choose ‘Em Part:
UFC 280 light-weight title bout: Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
Choose: Charles Oliveira
UFC 280 bantamweight title bout: Aljamain Sterling (c) vs. TJ Dillashaw
Choose: Aljamain Sterling
UFC 280 bantamweight bout: Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley
Choose: Petr Yan
UFC 280 light-weight bout: Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Choose: Beneil Dariush
UFC 280 ladies’s flyweight bout: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot
Choose: Raphael Assunção
UFC 280 welterweight bout: Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady
Choose: Belal Muhammad
Final week: 4-0
2022 document: 119-64
Extra MMA Protection: