When Will Petr Yan Get the Rematch After an Illegal Knee Disqualification at UFC 259?

Published 10/16/2021, 3:09 PM EDT

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Petr Yan versus Aljamain Sterling took place at UFC 259 and to the distaste of both the fighters and the viewers, the fight for the bantamweight title got tangled in controversies. During the 4th round of their fight, Yan landed an illegal knee to Sterling’s face which is against the unified rules of MMA that UFC adheres to. As a result, Sterling was visibly disoriented.

The fight was immediately stopped and Sterling was declared as the new UFC bantamweight champion. However, Sterling was far from happy. He felt that his performance was poor and won the belt only because of Yan’s disqualification.

Yan was ahead of Sterling on two of the judges’ cards, and many believed that he dominated the fight. In the post-fight interview, Sterling spoke with tears and said, “That’s not the way I wanted to win. That’s not the way I envisioned this.”


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As no one was happy with how the fight turned out, a rematch was bound to take place. The Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan title rematch was supposed to happen at UFC 267. However, Sterling refused the fight because of his neck injury.

Reacting to Sterling’s exit from the fight, Yan said, “I wasn’t surprised you could see it coming for a while. This guy doesn’t want to fight me again. I don’t care about Sterling, my goal is to get the belt back. I’m not gonna wait for someone who doesn’t want to fight me.”

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Aljamain Sterling’s injury because of Petr Yan?

In an interview, Sterling said that his injury was because of a number of different incidents adding up together and was present even before the UFC 259 fight. But the fight against Yan reportedly aggravated Sterling’s injury. He also revealed that he was unable to work out properly. Post his recent neck surgery, he requires rest.

Sterling will stay on the sidelines and return only after his injuries have healed completely. Until then, a rematch between him and Yan will have to wait.


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Sterling and Yan are both exceptional fighters. While Sterling has a fight record of 20 wins and 3 losses, Yan has won 15 fights and has had 2 losses, which include the UFC 259 fight against Sterling. With such good fight records, it is understandable that both the fighters and their fans expect a match with conclusive results.

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Many viewers may be unhappy that the rematch won’t take place; however, Petr Yan fortunately still gets a shot to grapple for the title. At UFC 267 on October 30, he will face Cory Sandhagen for the interim title. Sandhagen has a record of 14 wins and 3 losses; very closely matched to Yan’s record.


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Interestingly, in an Instagram post, ‘Funkmaster’ predicted that Yan will lose to Sandhagen in the second round. He also wrote that his rematch against Yan might happen in December or early 2022.



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Watching Yan face Sandhagen will be one exciting fight; especially after Sterling’s prediction. Do you think Petr Yan will succeed this time or will he have to wait longer for the title? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 


Written by:

Rohini Kottu


One take at a time

Rohini Kottu is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. She is also a Psychologist and has a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Rohini, in her role as a UFC writer, combines her admiration for the mental resilience that MMA fighters have and her love for analysis.
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