Aljamain Sterlin is the current UFC bantamweight champion due to an illegal knee foul by the former title owner Petr Yan. The Saturday night fight is one of the historical battles in the UFC, recording the first win by disqualification.
Speaking to the media after the fight, Joe Rogan, the commentator, announced that Petr’s corner advised for the foul knee. As Khabib narrates, Yan had already inquired from his corner for a green light to use his knee when his opponent was grounded. Petr Yan further disregarded his corner’s advice and told them that it wasn’t as per the instructions.
Hitting a grounded opponent with a knee is illegal, as advised by the referee before the match. Petr further said that the ref was too focussed on the hands, and he, Petr, didn’t realize Sterling’s knee was on the canvas. Petr later apologized to his opponent via his Twitter official account and even said that a rematch was inevitable.
I apologize and wish speedy recovery to @funkmasterMMA I didn’t mean to throw an illegal strike, I just made a big mistake and paid for it.
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) March 7, 2021
On the other hand, Aljamain Sterling also thinks that Yan’s foul was intentional and even wept bitterly after the disqualification saying that that was not how he intended to win. He even threw the belt on the canvas, projecting that he believed in winning in rather a better way but not through disqualification.
The match that went down at UFC Apex in Las Vegas will be remembered in the history of UFC due to its rather controversy at the fourth round. Aljamain’s win by disqualification and Yan’s first loss came by the same.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 7, 2021
Despite leading the previous round at 29-28, 29-28, 28-29, Yan’s action that the commentators referred to as 100% foul and illegal became his nightmare at the UFC Apex. The ref’s decision has instead thrown UFC fans into mixed reactions on social media, each giving their view about the same.
The vicious knee will certainly keep Aljamain out for quite a long time before he could be deemed fit to fight again. That keeps the rematch in rather a precarious balance as he could also be suspended because of health issues.