In dramatic scenes, reigning UFC champion Petr Yan has been stripped of his belt after he was disqualified for an intentional foul.
Facing off at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Sunday AEDT, Yan was disqualified for planting a knee in the face of American opponent Aljamain Sterling.
Sterling had a great start in the fight, landing two flying knees in the first round before grappling up against the cage.
Once they broke out, Sterling was dropped to the canvas with a massive right hand straight out of the clinch, knocking him to the ground.
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The second round continued to be tightly-contested with the commentators blown away by the crazy pace for a five-round fight.
But in the fourth round, Sterling was down on one knee when Yan kneed him in the face and the fight was over.
Aljamain Sterling is the NEW UFC Bantamweight Champion after this illegal knee disqualified Petr Yan #UFC259pic.twitter.com/lQ6ITgu9ip
While Yan appeared well ahead in the fight, the moment of madness seemingly cost him a title with the commentators calling it “100 per cent illegal” the second it happened.
“You can’t get more illegal than that,” UFC commentator Joe Rogan said.
It was later revealed Yan was ahead on the scorecards 29-28 x2, 28-29 when the incident occurred.
Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory by disqualification.Source:Getty Images
Sterling was filmed crying after the telling moment, reportedly telling the doctor: “I don’t want it to end like this”.
But Sterling was clearly shaky on his feet and needed to be helped up and out of the Octagon.
The 31-year-old was disgusted with the belt, taking it off immediately and throwing it on the ground.
Speaking to Rogan after the fight, Yan revealed his corner said it was alright for him to hit Sterling.
“Everything I worked for to this point and to have it f***ing go like that,” Yan said after the defeat.
“I thought it was close, I thought I was down two rounds and that’s not that way I wanted to win. That’s not the way I envisioned this. I just took the f***ing belt off. I tried to continue all f***ed up like that but I was in bad shape. The ref told him I was down but it was f***ing bulls***. I understand there’s some heat, some bad blood but it’s all rivalry.”
That knee was absolutely brutal. How Sterling was still conscious is beyond me.
Aljamain Sterling is not happy with the result and already threw down the belt. He didn't want to win that way and it's Petr Yan's responsibility for the foul. Piles of people are still trashing Sterling anyway. #UFC259
Also feel awful for Sterling. He admitted he thought he was down 2 rounds.
Good on the doctor for not letting the fight continue but man, that’s a terrible ending to what was a fun fight.
More to come …
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