Blachowicz vs. Adesanya took place March 6 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Petr Yan (15-2) and Aljamain Sterling (20-3) collided in a bantamweight title contest on the event’s main card, which aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view. Catch more video highlights below.
For more on Yan vs. Sterling, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew below.
Yan comes out and takes the center of the cage as expected and Sterling is high-volume off the rip. Sid kicks, jabs, and movement. Yan is staying defensive and looking for reads.
Sterling is kicking a lot and Yan is in full on defense. Flying knee from Sterling lands. soft takedown is stuffed from Yan but Sterling is right back on him with jabs and front kicks. It’s Sterling who is pushing the pace and then Yan catches a kick and trips Sterling down. Yan not going to follow him down though and one the feet Sterling is pressing again.
Another flying knee from Sterling lands and then he shoots a takedown that Yan stuffs. Back at range and Sterling is bringing the pace and now he gets a takedown! Yan doesn’t stay down for long though and Sterling lands a hammerfist to the back of the head that prompts Smith to warn him.
Now Yan has taken the back and this pace is wild. After some time in the clinch, Yan separates and floors Sterling with a right hand! Sterling is hurt and Yan is now marching him down. Leg kick from Yan drops Sterling but Yan doesn’t follow him down.
Back on the feet and Sterling gets a weird scissor sweep and now he’s attacking a leg but can’t get much from it. On the feet again and now Yan goes for a throw and gets it but Sterling is reversing quickly. He can’t do much and back on the feet and Sterling lands a knee as the horn sounds.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Yan
The pace for round one was insane and Sterling mostly had the best work but that right hand won the round for Yan. Easily the best offense of the fight and this bout is living up to expectations.
In the corner, Sterling’s coaches want him bringing the pressure. Early TD stuffed by Yan but Sterling throws combo. Sterling throws a kick and slips and Yan lands some punches on Sterling who is turtled. Now Sterling goes to his back and Yan is just standing over him, kicking the legs occasionally.
Mark Smith stands them up and Sterling coming forward now and gets Yan to the fence. He gets a snatch single and Yan dumps him. Cormier notes that Sterling is rushing everything and that seems true. Yan is staying patient and Sterling is now still working a single but does seem to be slowing some. He’s definitely working hard right now in the clinch but he cannot get Yan down.
He does briefly but Yan stands and he’s away. Sterling pushing that pace though and he’s got Yan backing up again and again he’s in on a leg along the fence. If Sterling can keep this pace up, he’s in great shape but that’s a big question.
Yan still defending the takedown along the fence and trying to chip away with short punches but nothing substantive is landing. Yan is also doing a great job of hand-fighting and he lands a good knee. Sterling tries for a trip but cannot get there.
Back in space and Sterling comes forward with a combo but eats a big left hand that backs him up. Now Sterling is throwing elbows in the phone booth and Yan is covering up. Spinning elbow from Sterling misses but Yan grabs the back and gets a takedown. Short time though and Sterling stands with Yan still on his back as the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Sterling, 19-19 overall.
Sterling opens the round with kicks but less pressure and Yan lands a sharp jab. This is the round Yan should start to kick things in gear so let’s see if that happens.
Yan is now the one coming forward as Sterling appears to be slowing. Less volume from the challenger and less pop on them. Sterling goes for a takedown but gets stuff. Yan checking leg kicks now and he’s moving off on angles when Sterling steps in and Yan lands a good left hook.
More kicks from Sterling and another stuffed takedown but he’s definitely not bringing the same offense this round and Yan is doming a much better job of countering. Sterling spins again and Yan grabs the back briefly. In space, Sterling steps in again and gets a sick foot sweep on Sterling. When they stand, Yan lands a good right hand.
Sterling marches forward and drives on a takedown but Yan stuffs it and Sterling eats a glancing head kick on the break. Sterling drives right back in but again cannot get a takedown. Sterling falls down again, stands up, and gets tossed down again. Sterling is clearly getting tired in there and that’s bad news.
Yan lands some kicks from Ali-Inoki position and then Mark Smith stands them up. Yan pressing forward and Sterling goes with an ugly single-leg that reeks of exhaustion. Credit to Sterling, he’s still throwing a lot but it’s all weak now and Yan is seeing everything coming.
Second wind from Sterling who lands a few good kicks that spur him on briefly. A clinch ends with Yan getting another takedown and Sterling looking to reverse as the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Yan, 29-28 Yan overall.
Sterling’s corner may think he’s up by three rounds and while it’s not entirely inconceivable, it would be pretty shocking.
Yan comes out and takes the center to start and Sterling throws a pair of kicks, the second gets caught and Yan gets a takedown. Doesn’t follow Sterling down though, of course, and so it’s some more chopping kicks from that position. However, when Sterling goes to stand, Yan lands a good knee to the body.
Yan lands a good right hand over the top too but Sterling responds with a combo to the body that lands. Sterling looking a little fresher now, which is good for him. Sterling clinches and looks for a toss but can’t get it and Yan pops him with a left hand for his trouble. Another left from Yan lands. And a kick to the body.
Sterling gets in the phonebooth again and clinches for a takedown but he’s not even close. Yan whiffs on a backfist on the break. Good combo from Yan but he’s slowing some too now. This has been an insane pace.
Sterling’s hands are down now and Yan is landing with regularity but Sterling is still coming forward. Big left hand lands for Yan and has Sterling backing up.
Punch to the eye from Yan has Sterling blinking and he’s now shooting ugly double legs that Yan dismisses easily. Pair of big shots from Yan land and this may be his best round. Sterling with some head kicks that are blocked but still good offense.
OH MY GOD. Sterling was down on a knee with Yan standing over him and as Sterling raised his head, Yan landed a massive knee to Sterling’s head. Clearly an illegal blow and Mark Smith has called this an intentional illegal blow as Smith specifically told him not to throw that show. HIGH DRAMA.
Sterling is obviously hurt. That was a serious knee he ate and basically, if he refuses to fight he’s going to win the title. He should 100 percent not opt to fight because he’s physically not in good shape.
Sterling can be heard saying he doesn’t want the fight to be stopped like this but if they let this fight go on, that’s just bad work from Mark Smith. This shouldn’t even be a question. Sterling should not be allowed to compete and he wins the title by DQ. It’s not hard.
And after a discussion with the doctor, the officials end the bout. It remains to be seen whether this will be a No Contest or a DQ but it clearly should be a DQ. Mark Smith told him it was illegal and Yan threw the illegal blow that ended the bout. It is what it is, but let’s see what happens.
Aljamain Sterling defeats Petr Yan by DQ (illegal knee to downed opponent) at 4:29 of Round 4.