Aljamain Sterling knows the feeling of how Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart at UFC Vegas 21 ended.
Well none of us thought we’d be saying this in regards to UFC Vegas 21, but another week, another controversial fight-ending knee. Last week, it was Aljamain Sterling winning the UFC bantamweight championship on a Petr Yan disqualification. This week, it’s Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart ending in a no-contest.
Stewart was getting the better of Anders in their main card opening bout, but Anders dropped Stewart suddenly, and the pair of middleweights began exchanging heavy shots. Anders rocked and troubled Stewart once again, but referee Herb Dean allowed the fight to continue.
Aljamain Sterling reacts to re-living his history the very next week
What happened next was Anders landing a knee while Stewart had his knee and at least one of his hands on the ground, making him a grounded fighter and the knee illegal. Dean, however, ruled the knee was unintentional, and thus the bout was declared a no-contest.
While fighters share their thoughts on UFC events on a weekly basis, attention turned towards Sterling’s Twitter to see his reaction. And he didn’t disappoint.
Sterling challenged Yan for the UFC bantamweight championship last week at UFC 259, and Yan seemed to on his way to a one-sided unanimous decision victory before Yan landed an illegal knee on Sterling.
After a pause for the ringside physician to observe Sterling, Sterling was unable to continue the fight on what was ruled as an intentional illegal knee, making Sterling the first UFC fighter to win a championship on a disqualification.
Yan and Sterling have been going back and forth for the past week, with many claims that Sterling was overselling the pain or simply took the DQ to get the belt in a fight he would have otherwise lost. This is certainly to lead to an intense rematch in the future whenever that gets booked.
This also surely won’t stop these debates among the MMA community in regards to debates around the knees and the definition of “intentional” and “unintentional” illegal strikes, or the roles of referees and ringside physicians.
UFC Vegas 21 took place on Saturday, March 13, 2021, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.