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Petr Yan hopes UFC Moscow win sets up showdown with John Lineker

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Singapore-Ishihara vs Yan Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

Former ACB bantamweight champion and blue chip prospect, Petr Yan, hopes a win in his sophomore promotional outing against Jin Soo Son at UFC Moscow will set up a clash with heavy-handed Brazilian John Lineker.

Yan decimated Teruto Ishihara in the first round of his debut at UFC Singapore. He was originally booked to face Douglas Andrade in Moscow, but an injury forced him off the card. Despite having a new opponent in his crosshairs, Yan is adamant that his preparation didn’t change at all.

“If a ranked opponent couldn’t make it to a fight with me, then I’ll fight whoever I need to make money and climb the rankings,” Yan told MMA Fighting, through a translator. “I changed nothing, I just focused on my own strengths.”

While most fighters expect to be a bit more comfortable in the Octagon after their debut, Yan admitted that home expectations have put additional pressure on him ahead of the Olympic Stadium date.

“I can’t say I’m more comfortable because fighting at home is another added pressure. My friends and family will come and watch me. I try not to think too negatively about it because it will be even tougher for my opponent. He has to travel and fight on my territory,” he said.

“There’s already a buzz around Moscow. The tickets have sold quickly, so the stadium will be packed. This is only the beginning for the UFC in Russia. People over here love fighting, so it’s only going to develop more and more.”

UFC Moscow marks the promotion’s first trip to Russia. Yan believes the landmark event will open the door for more Russians to join the UFC ranks.

“I expect more Russian fighters to sign for the UFC with the promotion coming into the market. I believe Russian fighters can compete at the highest level in different divisions. It probably won’t be a completely dominating era for Russia, but step-by-step, I think Russian fighters will make waves in the promotion — the same way the Brazilians did when the UFC first started putting on shows over there.”

Yan promised an action-packed finish of Son on Saturday night and already knows which bantamweight he wants next — Brazilian knockout artist Lineker.

“I know the fans want to see an exciting fight, but I plan on finishing this quickly and in the most exciting way I possibly can. I want to stay healthy and fight before the end of the year. Maybe I can fight in Australia, I really want to fight John Lineker,” Yan explained.

“He’s a dangerous knockout artist, so that fight intrigues me. I saw that Lineker called out Zabit when he needed a replacement and I thought it was pretty ridiculous because he’s not even in the weight class. He agreed to fight me when I challenged him, so that’s why I want to fight him.”

Earlier in the week on the Eurobash podcast, Mairbek Taisumov underlined his continued struggles to secure a U.S. visa due to political issues between the U.S. and Russia. Despite being a top rated lightweight, Taisumov has undoubtedly been held back in his UFC career due to his inability to travel to fight in America.

Yan is confident that he will not encounter similar issues:

“Regarding the visa, I think the UFC will do the work [to help me secure it]. I hope nothing political will effect me getting the visa. I’m pretty confident that I will be able to get it.”