Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan responded after a photo of Aljamain Sterling holding the belt was shared on social media.
Yan and Sterling fought in one of three title fights at UFC 259, and it was a heck of a fight for as long as it lasted. After a strong start by Sterling in the first round, Yan dropped him with a straight right. Tasting the power of the Russian turned the course of the fight, and gave Yan all the momentum. Though Sterling had his moments, Yan appeared to take over in rounds two, three, and four. In the fourth, Yan was cruising to another title defense until he made the bonehead mistake of landing an illegal knee in the fourth round to the head of a downed opponent. Sterling couldn’t continue, and the fight was called off due to DQ.
Due to the rules of mixed martial arts, Yan not only lost his belt due to the DQ, but the belt was also transferred to Sterling since he technically won the fight. As soon as UFC president Dana White put the belt around Sterling’s waist, he said he didn’t want the title and threw it to the ground. However, in photos that have emerged on social media following the fight, Sterling was seen holding the belt and smiling along with his teammates Serra-Longo Fight Team, including his teammate, fellow bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili.
Shortly after Dvalishvili shared this photo with Sterling, Yan responded to the photo on Twitter with a comment. He also called Sterling a “clown” in a comment on his Instagram.
Glad to see champ is fine now… https://t.co/0PgQS1dYdy
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) March 7, 2021
“Glad to see champ is fine now…”
Since Sterling threw the belt in the cage after he won via DQ, it’s certainly not going to be the best look with fans and among fellow fighters such as Yan that he is now celebrating the win. Though Yan cost himself the fight by throwing the illegal knee, there are a lot of fans out there who think Sterling “faked” his injury, and the reaction so far to the photos of the celebration has been mostly negative based on the comments on social media.
What did you make of the finishing sequence in Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan?