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Marlon Moraes vs. Petr Yan targeted to headline UFC Kazakhstan

Petr Yan v Urijah Faber Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

The first half of an unofficial tournament for the next bantamweight title shot is in place.

Onetime title challenger Marlon Moraes and top contender Petr Yan have verbally agreed to headline the UFC’s first trip to Kazakhstan, which takes place June 13 at Astana Arena in the capital city of Nur-Sultan. Contracts are expected to be signed shortly for the matchup, which was first reported by MMA Junkie and confirmed to MMA Fighting by sources close to the fighters.

Yan is two months removed from a victory over three-time UFC title challenger Urijah Faber at UFC 245. He remains unbeaten in the Octagon with six consecutive wins.

The Russian campaigned online for a title shot against champ Henry Cejudo, but when Cejudo instead got a matchup with ex-featherweight champ Jose Aldo, he agreed to face Moraes, who most recently took home a controversial decision over Aldo at UFC 245.

Save for a TKO loss to Cejudo in a bid for the belt left vacant by T.J. Dillashaw, Moraes has only been beaten once in the Octagon, suffering a split-decision loss to Raphael Assuncao that he later avenged. The Brazilian’s overall UFC record stands at 5-2.

The pairing of Yan and Moraes leaves a bout between Aljamain Sterling and Corey Sandhagen the likely next step. Sterling previously told MMA Fighting the UFC will award the next title shot to the most impressive combatant of the top-ranked bantamweights.

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