Aljamain Sterling became the UFC bantamweight champion following an illegal strike at UFC 259.
Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan seemed to have an instant classic on their hands in their title bout at UFC 259 before an illegal knee strike brought the MMA world to a halt. Working through four rounds at an incredibly high pace the outcome seemed to be moving steadily in the champion’s favor.
The strike from Yan to Sterling occurred late in the fourth round and caused the fight to be put on hold while doctors were called in to evaluate Sterling’s ability to continue to compete.
Following the doctor’s assessment, the fight was called and Sterling was awarded the UFC bantamweight title via disqualification. Sterling seemed distraught that this was how he had won his title and accomplished a lifelong dream ripping the title off of his waist and dropping it at his feet before being helped out of the octagon.
After the fight, both competitors took to Twitter to address the controversial nature of the bout. Petr took time to quell a rumor that was spurned on by a member of the UFC commentary team that he had been instructed by his corner to knee Sterling in the face while down on the mat.
While Sterling took his time to expand on his comments in his post-fight interview where he said that he never wanted to win the title this way before stating that they would meet again in the octagon.
UFC 259 took place on Saturday, March 6, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided who is on-site for all your live news and highlights.