‘Ref, stop the fight!’: Fans fume as Jose Aldo is hit with onslaught of brutal blows to the head during his bantamweight championship defeat by Petr Yan at UFC 251
- Petr Yan won the bantamweight title by brutally stopping Jose Aldo at UFC 251
- The new champion’s fifth-round victory included a punishing final flurry of shots
- The 27-year-old is the second Russian champion after Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Kamaru Usman beat Jorge Masvidal in the main event on Fight Island, Abu Dhabi
Petr Yan became the new UFC bantamweight champion with a huge finish to beat former title holder Jose Aldo on Fight Island.
Three title belts were on the line on the same card for only the sixth time in UFC history, and Yan (15-1) claimed the first one by persevering for a beating of Aldo (28-7), the former featherweight champion dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015.
Aldo was in a sorry state when referee Leon Roberts waved the fight off as Yan hammered the former featherweight champion with punishing blows in the closing 90 seconds of the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Blood stains the canvas as new champion Petr Yan batters Jose Aldo at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi
‘These are heavy, heavy shots,’ said commentator and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping, watching the battered Aldo suffer a severe beating.
‘How much more can Aldo take? [Roberts] is just about to stop the fight and then Aldo just moves, changes position.
‘This is not good. Aldo’s not going to win and he’s not going to recover. He’s just taking more damage. This fight needs to be stopped.’
Former Conor McGregor victim Aldo suffered his third successive loss after making a promising start to the scrap with some menacing striking.
Aldo started well with superior striking but Yan’s gameplan to wear the veteran down paid off
Original event headliner Gilbert Burns felt that Aldo’s corner and the referee had let him down
Burns shared his rage at official Leon Roberts as Aldo continued to absorb blows to the head
The closing round drew fierce criticism of referee Roberts, though, after he allowed Aldo to continue despite offering minimal resistance on the canvas.
‘If I was in the corner I would throw the towel in’,’ said welterweight Gilbert Burns, who had been due to headline UFC 251 before testing positive for Covid-19. ‘F***ing referee.
‘Dumb referee. You’re there to protect the fighter, stupid.’
The result left the Russian jumping for joy and many fans and experts questioning the referee
There was a clear case for Roberts to have stopped the scrap sooner as Aldo took punishment
UFC president Dana White later echoed the views of analysts who felt the end came too late
UFC president Dana White, who was also unimpressed by the controversial decision that handed Alexander Volkanovski a narrow victory over Max Holloway for the featherweight crown, described the refereeing as ‘horrible’.
He conceded: ‘It should’ve been stopped way sooner, you know. It looks like we have to tighten up our refs and judges here on Fight Island.’
Aldo made it to the final two minutes of the fight before Yan was declared the new champion
White said that he would be trying to ‘tighten up’ refereeing standards on Fight Island in future
Viewers were horrified at the volume of unanswered shots Aldo took during his defeat to Yan
Speaking after he became only the second Russian UFC champion after lightweight star Khabib Nurmagomedov, Yan admitted: ‘I expected it to be a hard fight.
‘That was our plan, to get him tired early on, and then in the third round start attacking.’
The merciless win made Yan the second Russian UFC champion after Khabib Nurmagomedov
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