Former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (28-6 MMA, 10-5 UFC) will face Petr Yan (14-1, MMA 6-0 UFC) in a clash for the vacant UFC Bantamweight title. The bout is set for July 11 at UFC 251 which will be the first event held at the UFC’s Fight Island facility located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Aldo was promoted to UFC Featherweight Champion at UFC 123 in a ceremony prior to the event in the wake of the UFC-WEC merger in 2010. Jose was known as the Featherweight king for a long time and with good reason.
Prior to the merger, Aldo had been the WEC Featherweight Champion. Aldo defended his UFC title at UFC 129 in 2011 and went on to defend his title 6 more times until his loss to Conor McGregor in a title unification bout at UFC 194 in 2015.
Aldo then defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 for the UFC interim Featherweight title in 2016. Later in 2016, Aldo was promoted to Featherweight Champion after Conor McGregor was stripped of the UFC Featherweight title. He went on to lose the Featherweight title to Max Holloway in a title unification bout in 2017 at UFC 212.
After an unsuccessful rematch with Holloway, Aldo went 2-1 in the Featherweight division, stopping Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano before losing a decision to current Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a non title fight at UFC 237.
Aldo made his bantamweight debut at UFC 245 in 2019 where he lost a split decision to Marlon Moraes. Aldo holds notable wins at Featherweight over Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Mark Hominick, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens and Chan Sun Jung.
Yan joined the UFC in 2018 and is currently 6-0 in the promotion. Yan’s last three wins came against John Dodson, Jimmie Rivera and Urijah Faber.
Yan comes into this bout as a replacement for Aldo’s original opponent Henry Cejudo. Yan was originally scheduled to headline the UFC’s first event in Kazakhstan on June 13 against Marlon Moraes. Cejudo’s retirement at UFC 249 led to a reshuffling of the deck which now sees Yan facing Aldo for the UFC bantamweight title.
Yan trained with Aldo at Nova Uniao in 2016 when Aldo was getting ready for his fight with Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 in 2016.
Both Aldo and Yan stand 5’7” tall. Aldo has the longer reach – 70 inches as compared to 67 inches for Yan. Aldo is also the older of the two at 33 years of age compared to 27 years for Yan.