Saturday’s UFC 259 event featured one of the most bizarre title changes in mixed martial arts history.
In the first of the night’s three title bouts, the UFC bantamweight championship was on the line, with reigning champion Petr Yan putting the title on the line against top contender Aljamain Sterling.
While Sterling proved to be a game competitor, Yan appeared to be in control of the bout heading into the championship rounds.
In the fourth round, Yan delivered a clearly illegal knee to a grounded Sterling, leaving the latter unable to continue the fight.
As a result, Yan was disqualified and Sterling was crowned the UFC’s new 135-pound king.
During the broadcast, it was revealed that Yan’s corner may have instructed him to throw a knee or a kick, even though Sterling’s knees were on the mat, making him a grounded opponent.
The UFC later provided footage of Sterling’s corner during the sequence.
As UFC commentator Daniel Cormier explained, there appeared to be a bit of a miscommunication within Yan’s corner.
According to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of Yan’s cornermen was giving out instructions to just punch, while another clearly celebrated when Yan landed the illegal knee.
While it is indeed a very confusing situation, at the end of the day, Yan threw an intentional illegal strike and was rightfully disqualified for it. He had since released a statement on Twitter.
It didn’t take long for Yan and Sterling to go right back at it on social media as the two have already started talking trash less than 24 hours after UFC 259.
All signs point to Yan and Sterling running it back for the title later this year. Nice to see that the two are already building the rematch up.
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