Petr Yan has confirmed he will only have one person in his corner at UFC 273 against undisputed champion Aljamain Sterling – combat sports trainer, Army Ranger and School of Self-Awareness founder, Joshua Fabia.
Interim titleholder Yan fights Sterling in the co-main event of this weekend’s card in Jacksonville, Florida. The Russian will be without his usual corner team for the title fight as they were denied US Visas last month.
The decision comes after tough sanctions have been issued on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.
Yan, from Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, explained: “I am going to have a coach in my corner, it just happens to be Josh Fabia.
“He’s just going to be there to make me feel good and make me look good.
“If it even goes to the second round, it’s because I want to give him time to talk to me in the corner. I want him to share his ancient wisdoms and modern innovations and tell me to ‘go get him.’”
Fabia’s leftfield training approach for Yan leading into his clash with Sterling has involved cardio walks through amusement parks, watching Japanese manga series “Attack on Titan” for fight visualization prep, hanging upside down in an abandoned warehouse and being slapped by Fabia, and being stripped nude and tied to a cane chair with the bottom torn out and then having his dangling testicles whipped by Fabia with a knotted rope.
Fabia has been a controversial figure since he first started making public appearances with Diego Sanchez ahead of Sanchez’s fight with Michel Pereira at UFC Rio Rancho in February 2020.
Yan is the betting favourite ahead of his rematch with Sterling despite the American currently holding the undisputed title. The pair fought at UFC 259 last March when Yan was disqualified for landing an illegal knee.