Petr Yan has officially hit a rough patch after his most recent appearance at UFC Las Vegas.
Once a seemingly unstoppable force with one loss upon arrival in the UFC, Yan, 30, now finds himself desperate for the taste of victory. This past weekend’s event headliner saw “No Mercy” look to snap a two-fight skid against the best friend of his old rival Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili. Unfortunately for Yan, he was on the receiving end of vintage “Machine” trouncing as the Georgian wrestling sensation earned 50-45 scorecards across the board, picking up a unanimous decision and ninth straight victory.
Coming up short via split decision in his unification title rematch with Sterling in April of last year, Yan initially planned to rebound against rising star Sean O’Malley the following October. The pair of excellent strikers put on a Fight of the Night worthy show, earning an additional $50,000 a piece, but in the end, it was O’Malley who handed Yan yet another split-decision loss. After seeing this most recent defeat of Petr Yan’s, “Sugar” feels somewhat to blame for the Russian’s continued descent.
“I genuinely in my heart felt bad for Petr,” O’Malley said on the TimboSugarShow. “After, I’m like, ‘Goddamn it.’ You go from just the scariest — Dustin Poirier saying you’re the best boxer, you’re on the pound-for-pound list, you’re the baddest dude in the division, people are terrified of you … Then you f****** illegally knee ‘Aljo.’ Then you lose a close fight to ‘Aljo.’ Then you get beat by me.
“I felt like he looked a little different in there, but it also might be that’s how good Merab is. Merab might have just made him look like that. I just saw it and I’m like, damn, I took a little something from Petr, I feel like.”
O’Malley’s win over Petr Yan solidified him as the No. 1-ranked contender in the promotion’s official rankings until Dvalishvili’s win, bumping him to No. 2. Since then, the rainbow-haired knockout artist claims that UFC President Dana White has informed him that he’ll be next for the winner of Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, who face off at UFC 288 on May 6.
Regardless of the trending direction of Petr Yan’s career, O’Malley still has plenty of respect for his toughest challenge to date.
“I feel like maybe he just, I don’t know. [49 takedown attempts from Dvalishvili], it’s insane,” O’Malley said. “[Petr Yan’s defense], also insane. I think he was so — I’m gonna say embarrassed that he lost to me, which he shouldn’t be. I’m f****** pretty skilled, but you don’t want to lose to me. I got f****** pink hair, I’m cute, you know …
“He was so embarrassed that he lost to me that he wanted that [win] back so bad and the division’s booked. Rob [Font], Adrian [Yanez], like the whole division is booked out. Merab was the only one. That just shows you how f****** gangster Petr Yan is. He didn’t care, he said, ‘I want Merab. I have to get this win back. I can’t be coming off a loss to ‘Sugar Sean.’’”