Aljamain Sterling is the new UFC bantamweight champion - but he didn't win the belt in the fashion he expected.
Sterling defeated Petr Yan via disqualification at 4:29 of the fourth round after Yan landed an illegal knee Saturday at UFC 259. Referee Mark Smith determined the strike was intentional, leading to the disqualification result.
"Funk Master" is the first fighter to win a UFC championship via disqualification, according to Fight Metric's Michael Carroll.
"That's not the way I wanted to win," Sterling said in his postfight interview. "That's not how I envisioned this. ... I was trying to continue even being all f----- like that. But I was in bad shape. It would've just been ego taking over, (to) just get further punishment. The ref told me I was down. It's f------ bullshit."
Yan was winning on two scorecards heading into the fourth round while Sterling was ahead on one scorecard, according to the broadcast.
Sterling has now won six straight fights. Yan suffered his first UFC loss and fell short for the first time since 2016.