Controversial illegal knee strike gives Bantamweight belt to Sterling

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Aljamain Sterling is the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. However, he did not want the fight to end the way it did.

Former champion Petr Yan hit Sterling with an illegal knee strike when Sterling was down. This led Yan to be disqualified.

UFC competitor Aljamain Sterling sits down after taking an illegal knee to the head by Petr Yan at UFC 259
Aljamain Sterling sits down after taking an illegal knee to the head by Petr Yan at UFC 259 (Photo by the UFC/Instagram)

After being hit with the illegal knee strike, Sterling was down on the mat. He also said that he had blurred vision.

Related: Nunes was in a non-event with Anderson at UFC 259

He needed help to stand. Once Bruce Buffer announced Sterling as the champion, Sterling threw down the belt and cried in the Octagon.

UFC medical personnel are going to look over Sterling. He could have suffered a concussion due to the illegal strike.

UFC broadcaster Jon Anik said that this was the first time that an incident like this happened in a title bout. Referee Mark Smith determined that the strike was intentional, which resulted in the disqualification.

Related: Valdez upsets Berchelt to win WBC Super Featherweight Championship belt

Sterling improved to 20-3 with the controversial win. The New York native has won six straight bouts.

This is Yan’s second loss in his career. This is also his first loss in the UFC.

His first loss came to Magomed Magomedov on March 26, 2016, in Moscow, Russia. Yan lost to Magomedov by a split decision.

Related: Lewis knocks out Blaydes in the main event of UFC Fight Night 185

The UFC will attempt to run this back in the future. Before the illegal strike stoppage, Yan led on two judges’ cards, while Sterling led on one.

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