Defending champion Aljamain Sterling was scheduled to defend his title against Yan on the same date, in a rematch of their March title fight. Sterling failed to receive medical clearance for the bout, however, as he is still recovering from recent neck surgery.
With Sterling (20-3) out indefinitely, the UFC has decided to create an interim title. Yan (15-1) lost the belt to Sterling in March when he threw an illegal knee in the fourth round of a title fight he was winning. Sterling was unable to continue after the illegal strike and Yan was disqualified.
The interim title fight will take place at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi.
Sandhagen (14-3) is actually coming off a loss to former champion TJ Dillashaw in July, but the five-round bout was extremely close. Sandhagen lost via split decision. Dillashaw would have likely gotten the title fight nod; however, he is recovering from knee surgery.
There is no official timeframe for Sterling's return. The hope is he will be healthy enough to unify the bantamweight championship against the winner of Yan and Sandhagen in 2022.