UFC 245: Faber vs Yan Preview
By Jack Maher
Opening the main card of the final UFC PPV of the year is a classic clash of young vs old, as surging bantamweight contender Petr Yan looks to add the biggest name to his resume yet, in the form of UFC Hall of Fame member Urijah Faber.
Despite only debuting in the UFC last year, the 26-year-old Russian has climbed all the way to #4 in the official rankings in just five UFC fights, winning all of them.
Yan always lives up to his nickname of ‘No Mercy’ inside the cage, he fights with intent not just to win, but to break his opponents. A member of team Tiger Muay Thai, Yan has notable wins over Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson, and is 14-1 as a pro.
When Yan debuted as a pro in 2013, Faber was already a 35-fight veteran, and was operating at the top end of the UFC’s bantamweight division, a two-time UFC bantamweight title challenger, and a former WEC featherweight champion. Now at the age of 40, Faber has come out of retirement, seeking one last run at the belt that he has been chasing for years.
Still fighting out of Team Alpha Male, the gym he founded, Faber made his somewhat surprising return to the octagon earlier this year after retiring back in 2016, stopping a respectable opponent in Ricky Simon with strikes inside the first minute.
Faber proved to the fans, as well as himself that there was no ring rust and he could still compete at the top level, and seeks to reassert himself to the title picture on the UFC 245 main card. Given that Faber is one of the biggest names in the division, as well as a member of the Hall of Fame, you’ve got to think that another title shot will be on the agenda for ‘The California Kid’
With almost three times as many fights as Yan, Faber has seen it all, and certainly has the experience advantage in this fight, but with more experience comes more miles on the clock, which makes you wonder if Faber will be able to handle the speed of Yan’s attacks.
Faber will have to utilise all of the tricks in his book, particularly in the grappling department, and test the takedown defence of the Muay Thai fighter, and try to drag the Russian in to unfamiliar waters.
Yan will aim to show Faber that this is a young-man’s game, and that he made a mistake thinking he could still hang at the top of the sport. Faber is resilient, and will be a tough nut to crack, but Yan will take this as a personal challenge, not a setback.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, we will either witness the passing of the torch to a new bantamweight contender who could be at the top of the division for years to come, or witness the return of a legend and pioneer of the sport to the upper echelons of the division, potentially setting himself up for a massive 2020.