Illegal knee UFC 259: Why was Petr Yan’s knee illegal during Bantamweight Championship match against Ajimain Sterling? The title changed hands on a disqualification.
Ajimain Sterling has prised the Bantamweight Championship from Petr Yan under unusual circumstances. During their match at UFC 259 earlier tonight, Sterling became the first person in UFC’s history to win a championship due to disqualification.
The defending Champion, Yan, who had so far been responsive for the majority of the match, decided to take matters into his own hands (or knees) in the fourth round. Sterling was down on one knee after a failed takedown. Despite the referree’s warning however, Yan threw his knee onto his opponents head.
— Pat Egan (@Pat_Egan) March 7, 2021
Petr Yan disqualified after illegal knee at UFC 259
Upon receiving the blow, Sterling fell to the ground. He rolled around and tried to get up before he lied on the ground again. The cageside doctors were soon called and after a few minutes of observation, the fight was called off and the titles changed hands.
While it is allowed to hit a downed opponent in MMA, the rules of UFC forbid knee strikes and kicks on a downed opponent. Hand and elbow strikes are legal but knees and kicks result in immediate disqualification as was seen in the fight tonight.
Daniel Cormier later revealed that Khabib Nurmagomedov told him that Yan’s cornermen advised him to knee his opponent. He asked his camp in Russian if he should do it and was told to go ahead.
Sterling was far from pleased with winning the title in the manner he did.
“Everything I worked for to this point, to have the fight go like that,” he said through tears.
“I thought it was close, I thought I was down two rounds. That’s not the way I wanted to win. That’s not how I envisioned this. I took the belt off, I was in bad shape and it would’ve been ego making me fight on.
“I wanted to continue. It was fast-paced, a lot of action. The action was non-stop until that bullshit.”
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