Fans were waiting for the battle between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling for a long time, which turned out not as per expectations. The Russian professional mixed martial artist lost the UFC bantamweight title after landing an illegal move.
‘No Mercy’ landed a brutal, illegal knee on ‘Funk Master’ in the fourth round, making the 31-year-old fighter stunned and being unable to continue. According to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Petr Yan was told by his own corner to strike the illegal move which made him lose the bantamweight title fight against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259.
Reason Behind striking an illegal move
Khabib attended the event with a friend and teammate, Islam Makhachev, during his victory against Drew Dober earlier that night.
Disputes have raised on why the Russian threw the illegal blow despite having the upper hand. Petr Yan was leading on two out of the three bouts and had Aljamain in control. But, according to Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, Khabib told them that Yan was told to strike by his corner.
In the Post fight interview, “Aljamain, let me tell you what Khabib Nurmagomedov just told us,” Rogan told Sterling.
“He was there in the corner, and Petr Yan asked his corner, ‘Do I hit him now?’ And his corner said, ‘Yes, yes, kick him’, and then he kneed you in the face, which was totally illegal. “So he got bad advice from his own corner. I don’t know if it was a miscommunication. I don’t know if he thought they were saying hit him in the head, and they were saying hit him in the body.
“We’re going to have to figure this out, get it all sorted through, but it was clearly illegal. And you were clearly badly damaged from that and it was not smart for you to continue.”
The fighter did not expect the fight to end like this at all. The fighter wanted to win, undoubtedly, but not like this. “That’s not the way I wanted to win.”– Aljamain Sterling.
"That's not the way I wanted to win."
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 7, 2021
Afterwards, video footage was shared by ESPN of Yan’s corner. The video shows how his coach, Marcos Da Matta, yells to “just punch” in English to the fighter. Whereas, other member yelled “strike” in Russian.
It was tough for UFC fans to watch the fight end this way. Where some fans claimed that if Yan was really told to strike using his knee, we must blame his corner for the mistake. The rest of the fans claimed Yan at fault, as being a fighter, the 28-year-old fighter should have known the rule.
Yan’s response to his deeds
Later that night during the post-fight press conference, Yan himself dispersed the belief that his team had no role regarding the illegal move.
“To be honest, I didn’t even understand what [my corner] said to me. I was more focused on [Sterling’s] hands as he lifted his hands off the ground… I didn’t see how he was sitting on his knees, thought he was squatting down,” –Petr Yan.
The Russian also said that “It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but I think he as a fighter he won’t accept the title this way. If everything’s OK with him, we’ll organize a rematch soon,”.
The former Bantamweight champion, Petr Yan, promises to Sterling “we’ll organize a rematch soon”. It’s tough, and it’s frustrating, but I think he as a fighter he won’t accept the title this way. If everything’s OK with him, we’ll organize a rematch soon.” The Russian added.
It was Yan’s first defeat inside the UFC octagon, said it was “tough” to take, but also pointed the fact that the pair would meet again soon.
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