August 4, 2020

Lynq Sports

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UFC 251 Fighter Profile – Petr Yan

Petr Yan

Age: 27

Nationality: Russian

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 135.5 lbs

Arm reach: 67”

Leg reach: 38”

Fighting style: Boxer

Primary camp: Tiger Muay Thai – Phuket, Thailand

Current rank: No. 3 in UFC Bantamweight Division

Professional MMA record: 14W – 1L

UFC record: 6W – 0L

Last fight: Win – KO/TKO vs. Urijah Faber (UFC 245)

Career overview – how did Petr Yan get here?

Growing up as a child in Dudinka, Russia, Yan trained as a boxer and eventually earned his Master of Sport in boxing as a teenager before switching to MMA. Yan began his professional MMA career with Russian promotion Absolute Championship Berkut, where he went 8-1, with his only loss coming by split decision in March of 2016. That defeat would hold up as his only career loss to date, as he has torn through the UFC bantamweight division thus far, going 6-0 and climbing to third in the current rankings. 

Yan has victories over stars such as John Dodson, Jimmie Rivera and most recently, UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber. His quick jump in competition skyrocketed his career and earned him a title shot after just six fights in the UFC, something very few have done. He was originally slated to fight in a title eliminator against top-ranked contender Marlon Moraes in June, but a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and former bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo’s abrupt retirement forced Dana White to scratch that event and concoct a new matchup for the vacated belt. 

What makes Petr Yan so good?

Petr Yan is a boxer, through and through. His hand speed is elite and his footwork is even better. Yan’s ability to apply forward pressure and hold a grueling pace for 15 straight minutes has served as his best weapon throughout his UFC career. 

While he’s still a boxer at heart, Yan has widened his arsenal over the past few years. Since beginning his training at Tiger Muay Thai, Yan has begun mixing kicks and knees into his punch combinations, making him more effective and unpredictable (just ask Urijah Faber). 

One of Yan’s biggest strengths is his ability to switch stances seamlessly, which forces his opponents to constantly adjust mid-round. While he typically likes to keep fights on the feet, Yan possesses fantastic takedown defense and wins most scrambles, so he’s far from uncomfortable when he hits the mat. 

So how does one beat Petr Yan?

It’s very difficult to find any holes in Yan’s game, or at least any holes that have been exposed thus far in his career. However, there is one weakness that was fairly evident in his fight against Jimmie Rivera. Rivera started off the fight by throwing a high volume of leg kicks, and Yan seemingly struggled with them. By chewing up Yan’s leg, Rivera was able to hinder his balance and footwork, making it easier to land shots to his head and body. This helped Rivera score a knockdown in the first round. Additionally, by beating up one of Yan’s legs, Rivera took away his ability to switch stances because he wanted to keep his injured leg protected, which in turn removed an important dimension of Yan’s fighting style.