Aljamain Sterling wins by DQ to become champion at UFC 259

Feb 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Jimmie Rivera (red gloves) and Aljamain Sterling (blue gloves) fight during their bantamweight bout during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Sterling won via unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The first of three title fights tonight at UFC 259 was the bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan (15-1) and Aljamain Sterling (19-3). These two were originally supposed  to fight back in December, but the fight got delayed.

Tonight was the first title defense for Petr Yan. Yan won the bantamweight title back at UFC 251 when he stopped Jose Aldo. Since making his debut with the UFC back in 2018, Yan has been perfect going 7-0.

While it’s been relatively smooth sailing for Yan so far, tonight was going to be his toughest test. There is no questioning that the top contender in the UFC‘s bantamweight division is Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling has strung together five consecutive wins to earn this title shot tonight. None of the wins were as impressive as his victory over fellow top contender Cory Sandhagen. Those two met back at UFC 250.

The fight was supposed to be incredibly even, however, it didn’t appear that way. Sterling was able to get Sandhagen to the ground quickly and submit him within 90 seconds. He was going to be the biggest test Petr Yan has seen in the UFC so far.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The UFC bantamweight title fight opened with immediate pressure from Sterling. Sterling opens with a couple of nice kicks to the body. A nice jab lands for Sterling and Yan looked very composed early on.

Yan had his guard high just trying to time Sterling. Another nice body kick lands for Sterling. Yan’s body was really red from the kicks of Sterling. Sterling was pushing forward with a ton of pressure here in the first.

A nice combination lands for Sterling. Yan catches a kick and throws Sterling to the ground, but lets him up. Sterling goes right back to the pressure. A flying knee lands for Aljamain Sterling, but it didn’t seem to hurt Yan.

First big takedown attempt for Sterling and he gets Yan down. However, Yan gets right back up. Yan separates and lands a massive combination that floors Sterling. Sterling is wobbling around, but goes right back to the pressure.

The UFC champion floors Sterling with a leg kick. Sterling gets back up, but his facial expression has changed. Yan is smiling at Sterling in the final minute. Sterling tries to grapple and Yan slams him down. Good start for Sterling, but the UFC champ takes the first round.

Round 2

The UFC champ wanted to get right back to the action in the second round. Sterling opens the striking with a body kick. A nice jab lands from Sterling and he tries to takedown the champ. Yan defended well and threw Sterling to the ground.

Yan was smiling at Sterling and lets him up. Sterling goes right back to the pressure. A couple of nice body shots lands for Sterling and he shoots in for another takedown. However, he couldn’t get Petr Yan down here in the second.

While Yan defended well, Sterling wouldn’t give up on the takedown attempt. Sterling tries a trip and still can’t get Yan down. Yan separates, but Sterling gave him no room to breathe. Sterling went right back to the takedown attempt against the fence.

One minute left in the round and these two were just along the fence. A nice knee lands for Petr Yan and Sterling tries hard for the takedown, but Yan separates. Again, Sterling goes right back to the pressure. With ten seconds left, the UFC champion lands his own takedown. With the pressure, I lean Sterling in round two.

Round 3

The third round opens with again, more pressure from Sterling. However, he did seem slower in the third round. A couple of nice jabs land for Aljamain Sterling. Yan pushes forward and lands a nasty hook to the body.

The UFC champ started opening up here in the third. Yan was pressuring Sterling more in the third and lands some big shots. The pace was significantly slower for Sterling her in the third round. A sloppy takedown attempt from Sterling is easily defended by Yan.

Yan was walking Sterling down here in the third. A nice 1-2 lands for Yan and he uses a clinch to just throw the challenger to the ground. Yan lets him back up and the UFC champ went right back to work. However, Sterling was able to use a takedown attempt to hold Yan against the fence.

Sterling looked exhausted here in the third round. The two come together again and Yan just throws Sterling to the ground. Sterling gets back up and tries for more takedowns, but they were very sloppy. Clear third round for the UFC bantamweight champion.

Round 4

Petr Yan looked much fresher in between rounds here at UFC 259. Sterling opens the fourth round with a body kick. Yan grabs the leg of Sterling and he throws the challenger back to the ground.

However, he didn’t follow him to the ground. Instead, the UFC champ went to work with kicks to the legs. A big knee to the body lands for Yan as Sterling gets up. A big combination lands for Yan, but that forces Sterling to push forward.

A couple of nice hooks to the body land for Aljamain Sterling. A stiff straight left hand from Yan backs off Sterling. A huge body kick lands for the UFC champion and he’s turning it up. However, Sterling shoots for another takedown to stop the pressure.

Yan immediately turns Sterling around and separates. Halfway through the round and Sterling looks like he’s moving in slow motion. Another body kick lands for Yan. The champ lands a big left hand. Both men were looking fatigued here in the fourth at UFC 259.

A huge left straight hurts Sterling. Sterling was starting to walk away from Petr Yan. Sterling then started shooting for takedowns out of desperation. A huge combination lands for Yan and Sterling keeps plotting forward.

A big illegal knee lands for Petr Yan and Sterling is hurt on the mat. This one looks like it’s going to be over. Aljamain Sterling is going to be the new UFC champion by disqualification.

Aljamain Sterling def. Petr Yan by Disqualification (Illegal Knee)