UFC 259: The Incredible Finish Between Petr Yan-Aljamain Sterling
All Petr Yan had to do was control Aljamain Sterling for a little over six minutes to retain his UFC bantamweight title this past weekend.
But that did not happen.
Instead, one-third of the triple-title main event at UFC 259 was left with a dark cloud hanging over it.
And only Yan really has himself to blame.
Leet us take you back to the moment of the end of the fight.
Yan had Sterling on the ground. As the contender started to make his way up, Yan grabbed his head and delivered a knee strike right to the temple of Sterling.
With one of Sterling’s knees still firmly on the ground.
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Disqualification and new champion in Aljamain Sterling would eventually be the decision.
Social media was in an uproar as Yan was well in control of the contest, sitting as a heavy favorite heading into the final round.
The replay, though, confirmed the move was illegal, as you cannot knee a downed opponent in Nevada.
Petr Yan gets DQ'd after his illegal knee to Aljamain Sterlingpic.twitter.com/QldJgWZE5W
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) March 7, 2021
Yan’s corner, it was noted, was instructing him to “punch” Sterling and he heard “knee.” Either way, it was pretty clear that he could have taken a second to see Sterling still on the ground and decided on something else.
The now-former champion attempted to clear that up post-fight.
Petr just told me (via translator) that he did not hear anyone from his corner instruct him to throw the knee.
— Phil Murphy (@Phil_Sports) March 7, 2021
A rematch is likely in order once Sterling is cleared. The new champion had no desire to leave the Octagon with the belt, but he will be the titleholder moving forward.