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A penny for Aljamain Sterling’s thoughts.

After all the talk of the identity of the rightful challenger to Henry Cejduo at 135-pounds, which was eventually revealed to be Jose Aldo despite coming off the back of two defeats, it had seemed to make sense that the UFC would attempt to pair the consensus top two contenders in the bantamweight fold — Sterling and Petr Yan — together, but that won’t be the case judging by reports which suggest that the UFC is close to announcing a top contenders bout between Yan and Marlon Moraes.

MMA Junkie reports that the bout has been agreed to by both parties but contracts have not yet been signed. All going well, the UFC should be in a position to formally announce the bout in the coming days.


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UFC Kazakhstan has also yet to be confirmed by the promotion but insiders say that the card is likely to take place on June 13 at Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

It will be an unusual bout for Moraes, who defeated Aldo in his last fight, but his own loss to in June of last year likely means that he is at least a win or two away from once again being in the conversation for the title.

Yan, meanwhile, will come into the bout on the back of a third round KO of MMA veteran Urijah Faber in December.

As for where this leaves Sterling is anyone’s guess but names like Cory Sandhagen, Raphael Assuncao and former champion Cody Garbrandt are likely to be considered as potential opponents.