The fight was a rematch and a title unification bout. Sterling captured the championship by defeating Yan at UFC 259 in March 2021 by disqualification. Yan delivered an illegal knee to a downed opponent during the fourth round that rendered Sterling unable to continue. Sterling became the first fighter in UFC history to win a title by disqualification.
The two were paired for an immediate rematch at UFC 267 in October, but Sterling withdrew from the bout due to injury. Instead, Yan faced Cory Sandhagen for the interim bantamweight championship while Sterling healed up from injuries. ‘No Mercy’ defeated Sandhagen setting up the title unification match with Sterling.
On Saturday, the highly anticipated rematch took place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Sterling narrowly defeated Yan by split decision, but Yan believes that he should have been declared the winner.
“I think I won this fight and I got robbed,” Yan said during his post-fight interview with commentator Joe Rogan. “I think I won three rounds out of five.”
Sterling clearly won rounds 2 and 3. Yan clearly won rounds 4 and 5. All three judges scored those rounds that way. Two of the judges scored the first round for Sterling giving him the split decision win.
“I want rematch. I want rematch,” Yan said.
(Video Courtesy of UFC)