Petr Yan: Chito Vera got UFC 299 title shot because Sean O’Malley ‘doesn’t believe he can beat any other top contenders’

Petr Yan doesn’t think much of Sean O’Malley as UFC bantamweight champion.

This Saturday, Yan faces Song Yadong on the main card of UFC 299, taking place at the Kaseya Center in Miami. The event is headlined by a bantamweight title fight between new champ Sean O’Malley and his longtime rival Marlon Vera. It’s a fight that some fans took issue with, as Vera lost a decision to Cory Sandhagen a year ago. Yan shares those feelings.

“I think Marlon Vera got a gift, got gifted this title shot because he lost to Cory Sandhagen,” Yan said through a translator at UFC 299 media day. “Obviously it’s not for me to decide who is the title challenger, but I’m seriously in the mood to get back for the title race.

“Sean just picked contenders that he can beat because he doesn’t believe he can beat any other top contenders in the division. And just to remind everyone how he got his title shot, he got gifted a decision against me.”

O’Malley took home a contentious split decision over Yan at UFC 280 that propelled him into his title shot against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292, which he won by knockout. Meanwhile, Yan lost to Merab Dvalishvili in his next fight.

After this weekend he’s hoping to get one — or both — of those losses back.

“To be honest, I’m interested in rematches,” Yan said. “In the fights that I lost or in the fights that I won, but was announced as the loser. So I’m interested in Sean and Merab.”

First thing’s first, though, Yan has to get through Song Yadong. The 26-year-old Chinese bantamweight is currently the No. 12 ranked bantamweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings and is coming off back-to-back wins in 2023.

For Yan, who is currently on a three-fight losing streak, this is a pivotal weekend for the future of his career, and he’s preparing to show out on Saturday to put himself back in the title conversation.

“Song is young and hungry opponent,” Yan said. “For me it’s an opportunity first of all to prove to myself that I have the skills to win and get back in the title picture.

“I don’t want to look behind Song’s back. He’s a good opponent, but I’m willing to bring him back to school.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *