Editor's note: The article has been updated at 12:30 p.m. ET on 3/6/20 to add comments from Petr Yan.
A pivotal clash between top 135-pound contenders Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan will reportedly headline the UFC’s first-ever trip to Kazakhstan.
MMAjunkie.com was first to bring word of the matchup. Both Moraes and Yan have verbally agreed to the bout, but contracts have not yet been signed.
UFC Kazakhstan is expected to take place on June 13 at Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Neither the event nor Moraes vs. Yan has not been formally announced by the promotion.
Moraes is coming off a contentious split-decision triumph over former featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 245. Prior to that, the ex-WSOF titlist was stopped in the third round by Henry Cejudo in a clash for the vacant bantamweight championship at UFC 238. “Magic” is 5-2 in UFC competition with other notable wins over Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera, Aljamain Sterling and John Dodson.
Yan, meanwhile, is unbeaten six Octagon appearances and has won 14 of his 15 professional fights overall. The 27-year-old Russian is coming off a third-round KO victory against Urijah Faber at UFC 245. He also owns notable triumphs over Rivera and Dodson within the Las Vegas-based promotion.
"No Mercy" spoke to Sherdog.com on Friday, explaining that while the contracts have been received, they have not yet been signed. Yan stated, "We have already got a contract for the fight. I think Moraes too. We are doing the formalities, and I think that in the near future the UFC will officially announce our fight. The bout with Moraes will be a five-round and will lead the show. This is a bid for victory. I am sure that our fight will be very spectacular."
He continued, "I was just kidding that the loser will fight with Cejudo. And stabbed him. In fact, I don't know whether the winner of our pair will fight for the belt. I think that it all depends on how the bout will go and who will win. I’m not going to say that Aldo does not deserve this fight. On the contrary, he is a famous, legendary fighter." Concluding, he said, "So it’s necessary, I need to prove once again that I am the best, that I am ready to fight for the belt."