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Featured Image Credit: UFC/ESPN MMA
Aljamain Sterling was crowned the new UFC Bantamweight Champion on Saturday night after opponent Petr Yan was disqualified for an illegal strike during their UFC 259 title bout.
Yan looked to be in control of the contest coming into the fourth round. In fact, he was leading on two of the three scorecards when he delivered the brutal and intentional knee to Sterling's face.
Sterling, who still had one knee grounded, was completely floored by the blow and, after medical staff attended to the American, they declared him unable to continue.
Yan threw away a title by doing this. Shocking scenes.
The controversy surrounding the illegal knee escalated after the bout when Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed what he heard from the sidelines.
Khabib, who was in attendance in Las Vegas after cornering his teammate Islam Makhachev, told UFC commentary team Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier that Yan had been told to deliver the strike by his team.
According to @dc_mma, Khabib Nurmagomedov said Petr Yan's corner told him to kick when Aljamain Sterling's knee was down.- Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) March 7, 2021
During coverage of the event, Joe Rogan said the following in his post-match interview with Aljamain Sterling.
"Aljamain, let me tell you what Khabib Nurmagomedov just told us." Rogan began.
"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."
Thoughts on the illegal knee?
Let us know in the comments.