On April 9, interim UFC bantamweight titleholder Petr Yan gets his shot at claiming the undisputed crown once again when he faces bitter rival Aljamain Sterling for a second time in the co-main event of UFC 273. As fight night approaches, we revisit five of the most memorable performances of “No Mercy” and the way we called them.
John Dodson, February 2019
The rise of Russia’s Petr Yan continued in Prague, as “No Mercy” won a three-round unanimous decision over John Dodson in a clash of bantamweight contenders.
Petr Yan | Journey To Champion
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!
Petr Yan | Journey To Champion
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
Not surprisingly, the pace was fast from the start, with Yan pressuring Dodson throughout. The Russian landed some hard right hands, but just before the horn, Dodson caught Yan and rocked him briefly.
Picking up where he left off in the previous round, Dodson dropped Yan in the third minute of the second frame, but Yan recovered quickly, and down the stretch he tagged Dodson with several hard punches and knees, leaving the New Mexico product flustered as he went back to his corner.
With five minutes remaining, Yan’s pressure didn’t let up in the slightest, and he continued to tag Dodson as the two battled it out against the fence. A little past the midway point, Dodson got the fight to the mat briefly, but Yan got up quickly and went back to picking his shots and landing them on the tiring Dodson both on the feet and the mat.
Jimmie Rivera, June 2019
Rapidly rising Russian star Petr Yan made it five wins in less than 12 months in the UFC, as he beat longtime bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera via unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27 for the No. 9-ranked Yan, now 13-1. The No. 7-ranked Rivera falls to 22-4.
Rivera had a solid first round behind an effective striking attack, but in the closing seconds, Yan landed the most effective blow of the frame, dropping Rivera with a hard left hook.
The second round was almost a mirror image of the first, with Rivera in control for most of the frame until another late knockdown by Yan, this time courtesy of a hard uppercut.
Told that he needed a knockout to win, the bloodied Rivera came out fast for the final frame, and again, he landed several hard shots. But Yan was unmoved by the New Jersey product’s power, while the effectiveness of his own punches and kicks showed throughout the hard-fought 15-minute bout.
Urijah Faber, December 2019
Bantamweight wrecking machine Petr Yan scored the biggest win of his career, as he knocked out UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber in the third round of the main card opener.
Faber scored first with a knee up the middle, drawing a roar from the crowd, by Yan was unmoved as he kept marching forward, and as the round progressed, he was able to get his shots in, albeit at a measured pace that allowed Faber to be the busier of the two.
Midway through the second, Yan struck, bloodying and hurting Faber with a right-left, and as “The California Kid” went to the mat, it looked like the end was near. Faber shook off the blows and got back to his feet, but Yan sent him back down with an elbow with less than two minutes left, leaving Faber with a nasty cut and swelling around his left eye. Again, Faber weathered the storm and was allowed to continue after a check from the Octagonside physician, but it was Yan in complete control now, and early in round three, “No Mercy” ended the bout with a kick to the head that dropped Faber and brought in referee Keith Peterson to halt matters 43 seconds into the final round.
Jose Aldo, June 2020
Featherweight icon Jose Aldo showed why he is a future UFC Hall of Famer in his bantamweight title fight against Petr Yan, but the relentless force from Russia would not be denied, as he progressively broke down the Brazilian and halted Aldo in the fifth round to take the 135-pound title vacated by Henry Cejudo earlier this year.
A thudding right hand by Yan was the first big shot of the fight and it got Aldo’s attention, but the Rio native put his foe on the mat with a kick to the leg seconds later, making it clear that the two were settling in for a war. As the round progressed, Aldo got busier, but when Yan fired, he made it count. In the final minute, an Aldo takedown attempt went awry and saw him on his back, and Yan hurt him with a body shot just before the horn.
Aldo began focusing on Yan’s legs in the second, landing several hard kicks downstairs, and when Yan started paying too much attention to them, Aldo moved his attacks to the body and head, effectively switching things up.
The kinetic chess match was at its best in round three, both fighters taking turns in control and making their opponent pay for any mistake. Getting more aggressive, Yan scored with several shots upstairs, while Aldo’s body work was his weapon of choice as the bout wrapped up its 15th minute.
Yan started to surge ahead in the fourth round, his work rate staying consistent while Aldo’s dipped, and as Yan finished up the frame with a takedown and a series of ground strikes, it was “No Mercy” in control heading into the final five minutes.
A right-left by Yan hurt Aldo as the fifth round began, and the Russian went all-in for the finish as he locked the Brazilian up on the mat and fired off strikes. The bloodied Aldo hung tough as long as he could, but finally, referee Leon Roberts had seen enough, stepping in at the 3:24 mark of round five.
Cory Sandhagen, October 2021
In a compelling five-rounder, Petr Yan regained a portion of the UFC bantamweight crown he lost via disqualification to Aljamain Sterling by winning a unanimous decision over Cory Sandhagen to take the interim 135-pound belt in the UFC 267 co-main event.
Scores were 49-46 across the board for Yan, now 16-2. The No.3-ranked Sandhagen falls to 14-4.
Sandhagen had a good first round as he mixed up his striking attacks and kept a busy pace. Yan got in some shots of his own, but wasn’t able to break the Coloradan’s rhythm.
Yan’s kicks were putting money in the bank for the Russian, but the same could be said for Sandhagen’s body shots as round two got underway. And as Yan settled into the fight, the standup exchanges got a lot more heated, with each fighter having their positive moments.
There was no let-up to the high-level action in the third, with Sandhagen keeping the pace high while Yan was more interested in picking his spots to attack. But with a little over a minute to go, Yan dropped Sandhagen with the biggest strikes of the fight, a spinning right backfist followed by a left hand that broke open the round. Sandhagen survived the ensuing onslaught, but momentum had swung to Yan’s side.
Sandhagen got a takedown midway through the fourth frame, and though Yan got up quickly, he now had something new to think about. When standing, Yan pressured his opponent and landed flush shots as the crowd roared. Sandhagen wasn’t backing down, but he was looking for other offensive options, and a subsequent takedown attempt came up empty, with Yan punishing his foe as they stood.
Still fresh in the final round, Sandhagen used lateral movement to hold Yan at bay, all the while throwing enough shots to keep “No Mercy” honest. With under two minutes to go, Yan landed a flush kick to the head that Sandhagen shook off, but it was a major scoring blow in a close round that the Coloradan tried to secure late before a last-second barrage of hard shots by Yan.