UFC 256 was initially planned to feature a tripleheader of championship fights. Now, however, the event is down to none after bantamweight champion Petr Yan withdrew from his title defense against Aljamain Sterling.
Yan withdrew because of "personal reasons," according to a report by MMA Fighting. Sources indicated that Yan is hopeful to reschedule the bout as soon as February of 2021.
Yan vs. Sterling is the third title bout slated for UFC 256 to exit the fight card.
UFC 256 has lost three championship fights
The UFC's initial plan was for UFC 256 to feature welterweight champion Kamaru Usman defending against Gilbert Burns, women's double-champ Amanda Nunes putting her featherweight belt on the line opposite Megan Anderson, and Yan vs. Sterling.
In the midst of signing Yan vs. Sterling, the Usman vs. Burns bout fell off the card when Usman indicated that he would not be physically ready to compete on the Dec. 12 fight card.
Nunes vs. Anderson was then elevated to main event status. That lasted only a few days before Nunes withdrew because of undisclosed medical issues.
That left Yan vs. Sterling as the likely UFC 256 main event, but now even that fight is a bust.
Dana White wants Figueiredo vs. Moreno at UFC 256
UFC president Dana White may have tipped his hand to the idea that Yan vs. Sterling was going to be canceled at the UFC 255 post-fight press conference, though he did not say as much.
UFC men's flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo made the first defense of his belt by submitting Alex Perez in the first round on Saturday night. Fielding questions from reporters, White said that he wanted Figueiredo to stay in Las Vegas, hoping to book him for his next fight as soon as December.
“We’re going to keep (Figueiredo) here (in Vegas),” White said at the press conference. “He’s not going back to Brazil. We’re going to turn him right around (in) December. That’s what we’re working on.”
Top flyweight contender Brandon Moreno also fought at UFC 255, defeating Brandon Royval with one tick left on the clock in the first round of the featured preliminary bout.
White is hoping to sign Figueiredo vs. Moreno for UFC 256. At the time of the press conference, it was under the guise of adding a second title fight to the card, but now appears to be an attempt to salvage the UFC 256 main event with a title fight.
Figueiredo had initially been upset for not receiving a $50,000 Performance Bonus for his submission victory at UFC 255, but his manager, Wallid Ismail, sounded as if he had calmed him down on that issue and persuaded him to remain in Las Vegas to hear the UFC's offer.
There had been no word from UFC officials regarding the status of signing Figueiredo vs. Moreno as of the time of publication.
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