For the first time in history last week, a UFC title changed hands due to disqualification but what did Petr Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) do and why did he end losing to the challenger Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) when Sterling was on his knees?
The UFC 259 fight night began like any other with three highly anticipated title fights on the card – Jan Blachowicz vs. Isreal Adesanya for the Light Heavyweight belt, Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson for the women’s Featherweight title and, the now infamous, Pater Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling Bantamweight title fight.
Both titleholders, Blachowicz and Nunes managed to retain their titles, the former by decision after five rounds and the latter by submission in the first but Yan lost his belt after landing a brutal knee to Sterling’s head AFTER the referee had halted the fight.
Sterling was on his knees in the fourth round after a failed takedown attempt when the referee told Yan not to continue.
That’s when it happened.
In what is clear to anybody who has seen the video, Yan strikes the defenceless Sterling with a hard knee to the head, knocking him out cold.
After being checked by a doctor, the decision was made that Sterling could not continue, and, as such, he became the first-ever UFC fighter to win a title by DQ.
Dana White and Sterling have already announced their intentions to rebook the match with Sterling writing on Twitter,
“Not the way I ever want to win a fight. It was close, competitive and filled with action. I felt the knee was intentional, especially after the ref announced I was a downed opponent, so I didn’t expect to be hit. Yan is a bad dude! We will do it again.”
Dana White echoed these thoughts saying to reporters in the post-fight news conference that an immediate re-match is definitely on the cards.
“Aljo went to the hospital, he’s cleared. Nothing wrong with him. Tuesday we’ll get together and we’ll figure out where that fight fits because Sterling wants the rematch, too. They both want the rematch, we gotta do the rematch. We’ll figure it out.”
Despite knocking Yan down in the first round, Sterling was behind 28-29 going into the fourth round, with the judges admitting that Yan’s heavier stikes and knockdown’s in the second and third rounds put him in a dominant position.
If the fight is going to take place again, new betting sites in Australia will likely be backing the Russian to win the fight.
Before last week’s historical win, Sterling was paying $2.00 to win and Yan $1.83 making him the slight favourite.
However, it’s anybody’s guess as to how the Aussie bookmakers will price the re-match considering Sterling now has the belt and given Yan’s unpredictable nature.