The UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi will take place without one of its world champions.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is out of his rematch with Petr Yan at UFC 267 due to an injury. The event is scheduled to take place Oct. 30 at the Etihad Arena.
Per sources, Sterling has lingering neck issues following surgery to repair a long-standing injury suffered back in his college wrestling days.
As of now, there isn’t a replacement lined up to face Yan, though the hope is that an interim title fight will take place in the co-main event.
Sterling captured the title from Yan via disqualification due to an illegal knee in the fourth round at March’s UFC 258 event. “Funk Master” has wins in his last six bouts, which includes a first-round submission win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 to become the No. 1 contender, a second-round submission win over Cody Stamann at UFC 228, along with decision wins over Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera and Brett Johns.