The UFC world has erupted in anger after Petr Yan was allowed to pummel Jose Aldo in ‘inexcusable’ scenes at UFC 251.
The first of UFC 251’s three title fights on Saturday was an entertaining affair until the final round, at which point Yan rained blow after blow on Aldo to the point that the announcers could not believe the fight was still going.
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By the end of his fight, Aldo was down on his knees, guarding his head and doing little else to stop Yan from hitting him with painful shots.
By significant strikes, the final round was absurdly one-sided.
Significant strikes were 62-1 Yan in the final round, per @ESPNStatsInfo— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
The fight was eventually stopped, with Yan taking the vacant UFC bantamweight championship.
Naturally, there was plenty of criticism for referee Leon Roberts, who had plenty of opportunities to stop the fight.
Aldo, among the most respected veterans in MMA, was clearly finished.
Fighters and media alike were in disbelief that the fight continued as long as it did.
ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani and Yahoo Sports US’ Kevin Iole were among those gobsmacked.
“This is senseless. Aldo is done. Stop the fight,” Helwani wrote to Twitter.
“ENOUGH. What the heck. He’s turtled up. Geez laouise. Leon Roberts, c’mon. That was ridiculous.”
Iole posted: “Terrible, horrible, inexcusable decision by referee Leon Roberts to allow Aldo to get pummeled that long with such hard shots.”
Terrible, horrible, inexcusable decision by referee Leon Roberts to allow Aldo to get pummeled that long with such hard shots. #UFC251— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 12, 2020
And there it is. Roberts FINALLY stops it. Petr Yan is your new UFC bantamweight champion. And that was a DISGRACE by referee Leon Roberts allowing Aldo to take that much punishment— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 12, 2020
The ref in Aldo’s fight... What a disaster. He should never be allowed to ref fights. #UFC251— Siyar The Great (@Siyarized) July 12, 2020
Petr Yan stops Jose Aldo in the fifth.— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) July 12, 2020
Aldo took a serious beating at the end there. Hard to watch, honestly.
Wow what did Aldo do to this refereee???? STOP THE DAMN FIGHT.— Funky (@Benaskren) July 12, 2020
This is senseless. Aldo is done. Stop the fight.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
Petr Yan announces himself to UFC division
Yan controlled most of the fight and nearly finished Aldo with a body shot while applying some ground-and-pound at the end of the first round.
Aldo turned the fight in his favour when he turned to his kicks in the second round.
At one point, he kicked Yan’s legs out from under him and dropped him. He also kicked Yan so hard in the second that Yan switched into a southpaw stance.
But Yan kept up the pressure, mixed his attack and hurt Aldo with several of his strikes in a high-intensity bout in which both set personal bests for strikes landed.
“Our plan was in the beginning to put pressure on him and make him tired, and after the third round, start attacking,” Yan said. “That is what happened.”
Meanwhile, Australia's Alex Volkanovski has retained his UFC featherweight world title with a split points win over former champion Max Holloway in Abu Dhabi.
Two judges scored it 48-47 to New South Welshman Volkanovski, with the third seeing it the opposite way.
Hawaiian Holloway - who lost the belt to Volkanovski in Las Vegas last December - won the first two rounds with a knock down in each but the champion fought back by taking down the challenger in both the fourth and fifth.
with Yahoo Sports US and AAP