Cory Sandhagen has entered the bantamweight title picture.

Following the removal of bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling due to injury, Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is targeted for UFC 267 co-main event opposite former titleholder Petr Yan – and an interim belt will be on the line. Contracts have not been signed but both sides have agreed.

UFC 267 takes place Saturday, Oct. 30 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main card is expected to air on ABC after prelims on the ESPN network.

A person with knowledge of the targeted matchup confirmed the booking to MMA Junkie on Tuesday but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. MMA Junkie reported Saturday that Sandhagen was the frontrunner replacement. Tuesday, ESPN was first to report the fight booking.

Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) enters his first UFC title shot off a split decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw in July, which snapped a two-fight winning streak that included quick knockout wins over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar. Besides the defeat to Dillashaw, Sandhagen’s only other promotional loss came against Sterling via first-round submission.

Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) won the 135-pound strap at UFC 259 in March when Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) was disqualified for an illegal knee to a grounded opponent. Although the promotion was eager to turn the fight around for a rematch as quickly as possible, Sterling was resistant to fighting Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi because of neck surgery, but he ultimately gave in.

The disqualification was Yan’s first loss since a controversial March 2016 split decision defeat to Magomed Magomedov at ACB 32. So far in his promotional tenure, Yan owns wins over the likes of John Dodson, Jimmie Rivera, Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo, whom he defeated for the vacant title in 2020, among others.

With the addition, the UFC 267 lineup includes:

Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira – for light heavyweight title
Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen – for interim bantamweight title
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Islam Makhachev vs. TBA
Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Volkov
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Li Jingliang
Shamil Gamzatov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Virna Jandiroba vs. Amanda Ribas
Ricardo Ramos vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
Damir Ismagulov vs. Magomed Mustafaev
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Lerone Murphy
Alen Amedovski vs. Hu Yaozong
Allan Nascimento vs. Tagir Ulanbekov
Albert Duraev vs. Roman Kopylov



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