The Pro Take: Aljamain Sterling Wins Bantamweight Title Via DQ

Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, UFC 259
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: (L-R) Petr Yan of Russia punches Aljamain Sterling in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

When two hungry, young fighters are in the prime of their career, you knew that their paths are destined to cross. For Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, that was the case Saturday — and there was no love lost heading into their bantamweight championship fight at UFC 259.

The back and forth on social media was entertaining, but all the talking would stop come fight night. Instead, the two best bantamweights in the UFC were set to throw down, as Sterling had cemented his status as the number one contender thanks to a stellar performance over Cory Sandhagen.

What played out on Saturday, however, was not what anyone expected.

As the fight went deeper into the rounds, Yan looked to run away with the fight and cement exactly why he was the bantamweight champion. Aljamain Sterling, who started strong, appeared too slow in his output and was losing steam heading into round number four. Takedown attempts from Sterling did not seem to have the same energy behind them. Just when Yan was in full control of the fight, he hit Sterling with an illegal knee, ending the fight by disqualification.

The aftermath was a mess. Sterling was distraught, not wanting to win the title in such an inglorious fashion. To the point of throwing down the belt as he left the cage. It came to light that Yan had been warned by the ref that Sterling was down prior to launching the knee. But worse, it appears his corner had told him to throw the strike, a miscommunication that cost him the belt.


Here is the Pro Take on the first of three title fights for UFC 259, between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.