UFC 259 results: Petr Yan disqualified for illegal knee, loses title to Aljamain Sterling

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Aljamain Sterling is the new UFC bantamweight champion, but the circumstances surrounding his title-clinching performance were anything but usual.

On Saturday at UFC 259, when he challenged Petr Yan for the bantamweight title, Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) became the first fighter in UFC history to earn a championship due to disqualification. Sterling absorbed an illegal knee from Yan at 4:29 of Round 4 and was deemed unable to continue by referee Mark Smith.

The first of three title fights at UFC 259, Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) vs. Sterling was an elite, barnburner of a contest for three-plus rounds. The fight was offense-heavy. Sterling led the dance, while most of Yan’s offense was responsive.

As the fight progressed, Sterling began to fade, but before any further questions could be answered about his gas tank, the fight came to a screeching halt.


UFC 259 results: Islam Makhachev crushes Drew Dober with third-round arm-triangle

Both sides respond to Tim Elliott and Jordan Espinosa's 'woman beater' argument in UFC 259 fight

The final sequence occurred as the clock ticked down in Round 4. With Sterling clearly down on a knee after a failed takedown attempt, Smith warned Yan of his opponent’s downed status. Despite the referee’s warning, Yan delivered a knee straight to the head of Sterling.

Upon impact, Sterling showed signs of injury. As he rolled around on the ground and tried to sit up (only to return to a lying position on the mat), Smith called for the cageside doctor. After a few minutes of observation, and despite Sterling’s disappointment in the situation, the fight was waved off. Sterling laid face down on the mat and wept into his hands.

After UFC president Dana White wrapped the belt around his waist, Sterling dropped it to the mat, disappointed and teary eyed.

After the official decision, an upset and emotional Sterling briefly interviewed with UFC commentator Joe Rogan. He apologized to the audience before medical staff cut his interview short for examination.

With the victory, Sterling’s winning streak extends to six. Meanwhile, the loss is only Yan’s second of his career. His first also came in controversial fashion against current Bellator bantamweight Magomed Magomedov when the pair of Russians were in ACB.

The bantamweight title bout was part of the UFC 259 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.


Twitter reacts to Aljamain Sterling's DQ win to take title from Petr Yan at UFC 259

Up-to-the-minute UFC 259 results include:

  • Aljamain Sterling def. Petr Yan via disqualification (illegal knee) – Round 4, 4:29 – to become UFC bantamweight champion

  • Islam Makhachev def. Drew Dober via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 1:37

  • Aleksandar Rakic def. Thiago Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

  • Kyler Phillips def. Song Yadong via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

  • Kai Kara-France def. Rogerio Bontorin via TKO (punch) – Round 1, 4:55

  • Tim Elliott def. Jordan Espinosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

  • Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Carlos Ulberg via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:19

  • Sean Brady def. Jake Matthews via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:28

  • Amanda Lemos def. Livinha Souza via TKO (punch) – Round 1, 3:39

  • Uros Medic def. Aalon Cruz via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:40

  • Trevin Jones def. Mario Bautista via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:47