It wasn’t the way Aljamain Sterling hoped to become the new UFC bantamweight champion, as Petr Yan was disqualified in the fourth round for an illegal knee at UFC 259.
What was the high point of the fight?
Sterling came out with a blistering pace in the first round, landing two flying knees to the head of Yan. The Russian responded with a right hand that dropped Sterling. Yan landed a perfect foot sweep that put Sterling down for the second time.
Yan landed a hard right hand at the start of the third round and it seemed that Sterling was starting to slow down. In the fourth round, Sterling was grounded and Yan landed an illegal knee. With the strike being deemed as intentional and Sterling being unable to get back to his feet, the fight was stopped and Sterling was the new champion.
Where do both men go from here?
If Yan didn’t throw that knee, he was likely on his way to defending his bantamweight title. Given the way the fight ended and the way it was going, it would make sense if the UFC run this fight back.
Sterling said himself, it’s not the way he wanted to become the new champion. With the UFC working on a number one contender fight between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen, Sterling could wait and face the winner of that fight next unless Yan gets an immediate rematch.
Watch it now, later or never?
Yes. Check out the illegal knee (that landed clean) which forced the fight to be called off.