Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has hit his latest opponent, Aljamain Sterling, with some serious accusations.
Yan and Sterling met on the UFC 259 main card, with the bantamweight title on the line. Yan, who entered the cage as the champion, seemed to be in control through most of the fight, but ultimately blasted Sterling with an illegal knee to the head. When Sterling couldn’t continue, he was named the winner by disqualification—which meant he left the cage as the new UFC bantamweight champ.
Speaking to ESPN after the fight, Yan opened up on this unfortunate outcome, and accused Sterling of playing up his injuries to earn the DQ win, and the title.
“The moment I still didn’t realize I did something illegal,” Yan began. “I was trying to understand what was going on. Then I saw the tape and I saw in this moment the doctor come into the cage and the referee talking to the doctor and referee saying to the doctor that this knee was illegal and he’s going to disqualify me and Aljamain was just sitting right next to them.
“[Sterling] was hearing what the referee was saying to the doctor and after that we can see Aljamain start to feel worse and worse every second,” Yan continued. “So he started to lie on the ground and I don’t know what happened.
“You can see, the first few moments after the knee landed he was trying to recover. But then, I feel like he started to exaggerate, he started [to act] because he heard what the referee said,” Yan added. “I feel like he could have continued. It was his choice not to, but I feel like he could have continued.”
Yan then provided what he views as additional evidence that Sterling embellished the effects of the illegal knee.
“First he claims he doesn’t remember what happened then he starts explaining what happened,” Yan said. “Then he’s doing an interview after the fight, [explaining] what was going on, so to me it’s obvious he was very aware of what’s going on, of what he’s doing and it was his decision to not continue to get a disqualification win.”
There’s no denying that Yan and Sterling’s fight had a disappointing ending. The good news, however, is that all signs point to an immediate rematch between the pair.
Yan, for his part, is ready for that opportunity.
“[The UFC] already reached out to me and asked when I’m ready to fight again and I told them I’m ready in one month, two months time,” Yan said. “Whenever the want to do it.
“I was punished already for what I did,” Yan added. “I already lost the belt. I lost pay-per-view points and all that comes with being a champion but everything happened because the referee told the commission that it was intentional, but I didn’t throw it intentional. Now the rematch is the only logical thing to do. The rematch has to happen next.”
Who do you think will come out on top in a rematch between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling?