The UFC 256 fight card has been dealt another blow as bantamweight champion Petr Yan has withdrawn from his planned title defense against Aljamain Sterling, ESPN confirmed on Sunday. According to the, Yan is not injured and the reason for his withdrawal has not been disclosed. Yan was scheduled to make the first defense of the vacated title he won with a late stoppage of former featherweight champion Jose Aldo at July's UFC 251.
Yan vs. Sterling is the third title fight targeted for the event which has fallen through as UFC 256 has been particularly snakebitten. First, Kamaru Usman was forced to pull out of his scheduled welterweight title defense against Gilbert Burns -- a fight which had already been delayed when Burns was forced out of UFC 251 after testing positive for COVID-19. Also planned for the card was a bout between two-division champion Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson, but Nunes was forced to pull out of her defense of the women's featherweight title due to injury.
On the heels of this past Saturday's UFC 255 event, ESPN also learned the promotion was planning a UFC 256 bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno for Figueiredo's flyweight championship, which would presumably now serve as the new main event. Figueiredo defeated Alex Perez by submission in less than two minutes in the main event of UFC 255, while Moreno picked up his own first-round win on the card, stopping Brandon Royval via TKO in the featured prelim bout at the event.
UFC 256 takes place on Saturday, Dec. 12 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. It will air live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.