At the UFC 246 tournament in Las Vegas, Peter Jan will try to take the last step towards the lightweight champion title. The fourth number of the rating intends to win the sixth consecutive victory in the Absolute Fighting Championship, and Yuraya Feiber will try to prevent him from doing this. The legendary athlete resumed his career in the summer and expects to argue for the fourth time in the near future for a belt.
On the eve of this fight, the situation around Yan resembles the one that happens with his compatriot Zabit Magomedsharipov. Before the tournament in Moscow, both had five successful performances in the largest MMA promotion in the world and the status of one of the most prominent representatives of their divisions. Both athletes have already managed to deal with elite opponents and had every reason to claim a fight with the champion.
Subsequently, Magomedsharipov defeated Kelvin Kattar in Moscow and now awaits the outcome of the duel between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovsky, and the winner will most likely become his future opponent. Now it’s up to Jan, who, although he was not known as such a spectacular athlete as a compatriot, also managed to achieve high results.
Ian dealt with former UFC flyweight champion John Dodson, as well as very sturdy Jimmy Rivera. In recent years, the American has strengthened the status of one of the top fighters of the division and was inferior exclusively to the representatives of the top 5. In addition to Peter, he could not cope with Marlon Moraes and Aljamein Sterling. Confident success in the battle with him made the Russian perceive him as a high-class athlete and instantly made him a favorite in the fight for the first number in the rating.
At the moment, only three fighters are ahead of Jan in the lightest ranking table. In addition to Moraes and Stirling, Cory Sandhagen is located higher, until recently, who had plans to fight with Frankie Edgar. However, the ex-champion decided to replace Brian Ortega in the battle with Jung Chan Son and actually deprived his counterpart of the opportunity to compete with the Russian for the title of the first issue. Both have in their assets a series of five victories, but the American is unlikely to have time to find an equivalent replacement in the near future.
As for Moraes and Sterling, the first has practically no chance in the near future to achieve a battle with Sehudo. In June, the Brazilian could become the UFC champion, but prematurely lost his opponent in the third round. Promotion management almost never provides revenge in such a short time, so Marlon will have to hold at least two fights in order to return to the race.
Sterling has long been considered one of the most talented flyweight fighters, but at a crucial moment can not take the last step. He started in the UFC with four victories, but then twice appeared in the role of a loser. At first he unexpectedly lost to Brian Caraway, and then was beaten by Raphael Assunsao. Moreover, if the Brazilian has always been considered a strong athlete, which confirms his long stay at the top of the division, then the American was known primarily for his relationship with ex-champion Misha Tate.
Subsequently, Sterling was able to recover from these failures and again rose to the victorious rails, but was beaten by the same Moraes. At the moment, he is not inferior for four fights in a row, but it is unlikely that the UFC seriously takes him as an indisputable candidate for the champion.
This whole situation only plays into Jan’s favor and is quite capable of making him an uncontested option in terms of determining the future trophy seeker. At the moment, neither Sandhagen nor Sterling have plans for a fight, and Moraes will face a difficult test in the form of a battle with Jose Aldo.
Thus, the battle with Faber seems to be an ideal option for Ian. The American is a legend of mixed martial arts, and a victory over him can not only strengthen the position of a Russian, but also make him a star. This can be achieved either by vivid performances, or by fights with illustrious opponents. If Peter manages to inflict Yuraje his first defeat after returning to MMA and finally send him to retirement, then he will undoubtedly become one of the main persons of the category.
In addition, a duel with Faber will be for Jan an excellent test in terms of skill. First of all, he is famous for his skills in the stance, and not in the stalls. Confirmation of this is his blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to which only white is inferior in prestige.
For comparison, the American has a brown belt (fourth in importance), and in his youth had experience playing in the first division of the NCAA (National University Sports Association of the USA and Canada) in wrestling. In addition, he not only founded, but continues to lead the Team Alpha Male training team, which specializes specifically in stalls, and TJ Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt, Ched Mendes and Page Vanzant are considered his most pupils.
This is evidenced by the fact that he won 19 out of 35 victories with the help of change. The same Assunsao, Takeiya Mizugaki and Michael MacDonald suffered from his hands, and his stifling reception from behind on Ivan Mengivara was recognized as the best in 2013.
Thus, Jan will have to prove that he is able to fight not only in a manner convenient for himself, but also to feel confident in someone else's territory. In anticipation of a possible fight with Sehudo, this can be safely considered a necessary condition, because he became famous not only as an MMA fighter, but also as a freestyle wrestler. At the 2008 Olympics, Henry won a gold medal in the category up to 55 kg, in the finals he dealt with the Japanese Tomohiro Matsunaga.
However, the advantages of the Russian include his protection from takedowns. Although he himself rarely initiates the transition to the ground, but does not allow the opponent to send himself to the floor. At the moment, he walked away from 83% of attempts to pass into the legs, which is an extremely high rate.
It is noteworthy that the attitude of Faber to the future opponent is rather controversial. He admitted that the Russian possesses a set of skills and is extremely dangerous in a stance, but noted that during his heyday this fight was unlikely to take place. Yuraya hinted that Peter was inferior to him in the class, and only the age difference added the chances of victory to the Russian.
It is worth recalling that although the American is considered one of the lightest weight symbols, he still could not become the UFC champion. He claimed a belt three times, but each time lost. Twice he was beaten by the equally legendary Dominic Cruz, and once again stumbled in a battle with Henan Barao. At the same time, he dealt with fighters of a slightly lower class rather confidently, which made his position even more desperate.
There is no doubt that on the night of Sunday, Faber will be extremely motivated. Firstly, he will try to prove that his success in the fight with Ricky Simon is not an accident, and secondly, he will make another attempt to get to the desired gold. The UFC has always been loyal to Yuraiya, as a result of which their decision to provide the honored veteran with another chance to fight for the belt will not come as a surprise.
It is noteworthy that, according to bookmakers, Yang acts as the unambiguous favorite of the confrontation. On average, the coefficient on his victory is 1.3, while on the success of Faber - 5.4. Apparently, few people believe that the 40-year-old American is able to work out three rounds at the high pace proposed by the Russian, which may well become a key factor.
It’s in Yang’s interests not only to get the upper hand, but to do it as confidently and spectacularly as possible. By the example of Magomedsharipov, he could already become a witness of what not the most vivid performance could lead to. If before the fight with Jeremy Stevens, he was considered the main young featherweight star, then after the hype around his name he fell a little. The battle with Cattar only confirmed the fears, in connection with which Zabit risks again being left without the title of first challenger.
The reason for this was not the most confident endings of both fights. The Russian obviously did not have enough strength to dominate for all 15 minutes, which led to lost rounds and slightly oiled the impression of his performance. Yang has not yet given reason to doubt his physical readiness, but the recent operation could well have made some adjustments. The upcoming battle will show whether he was able to fully recover from an elbow injury, which actually cost him the battle with Sterling.