The Russian showcased a relentless offensive output round after round until he finally put Jose Aldo on the mat late in the fight and unleashed a ground and pound attack that bloodied and battered the former featherweight king.
Yan was declared the winner at 3:24 into the final round as he captures the 135-pound title in his seventh UFC fight.
“I expected it to be a hard fight,” Yan said while celebrating with the title wrapped around his waist.
With gold up for grabs, Yan and Aldo were definitely gunning for the finish in almost every exchange on the feet. One of the best shots early came when Yan connected with a clubbing right hand that snapped Aldo’s head around.
The Brazilian managed to answer back with some of his signature leg kicks, including one that took Yan off his feet for a moment.
Both fighters were landing effectively but a scramble put them on the ground and that’s where Yan turned the tables in his favor. With Aldo on his back, Yan started unloading a barrage of punches including a brutal shot to the body that had the ex-champ wincing in pain.
While Aldo managed to come back in the second round by using some of the signature leg kicks that helped him win and defend titles in both the UFC and WEC, time was not on his side in this championship affair.
The fighters were both landing in the exchanges but Yan was connecting to the head while also digging to the body. Just before the third round expired, Yan unleashed a flurry of punches that had Aldo in retreat.
That was a recurring theme as time ticked away with Yan surging forward and Aldo starting to fade.
Yan busted up Aldo’s nose while still paying plenty of attention to the midsection as he looked to take away the last of the Brazilian’s oxygen. Finally with five minutes remaining, Yan blasted a with another combination before taking the fight down to the ground.
Aldo didn’t get up again.
With the former 145-pound king stuck underneath him, Yan unloaded a relentless series of hammer fists and punches to the head that saw blood decorate the canvas. It appeared Yan could have earned the stoppage several times but finally referee Leon Roberts saw enough and saved Aldo from any further damage.
Yan is now the undisputed bantamweight champion as he dispatches Aldo and remains undefeated in the UFC. He will now likely celebrate his win while awaiting an eventual showdown with top ranked contender Aljamain Sterling waiting in the wings.