Petr Yan’s coach clears up corner confusion in UFC 259 DQ loss to Aljamain Sterling

MMA News
Petr Yan’s coach clears up corner confusion in UFC 259 DQ loss to Aljamain Sterling

Petr Yan’s American Top Team coach, Marcos DaMatta, recalls the corner advice that was given to the Russian moments before he lost his bantamweight championship.

Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) was disqualified after striking Aljamain Sterling with an illegal knee at UFC 259. Sterling was rendered unable to continue and, as a result, crowned the new champion.

Questions were raised at Yan’s decision to throw the knee when Sterling was a downed opponent. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was seated near the octagon during the fight, told commentator on duty Daniel Cormier that he heard one of Yan’s cornermen say “knee him” in Russian, which prompted Yan to throw the illegal strike.

But “Parrumpa,” who was in Yan’s corner, told MMA Junkie that’s not exactly how things unfolded. DaMatta was clearly heard yelling “just punch” three times in English, but another voice in Russian followed giving a different instruction, which Nurmagomedov translated as “knee him.”

Though Yan said in his post-fight interview that he couldn’t hear any of this cornermen, DaMatta says Yan’s coach told him they did not tell for Yan to knee Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC). They just said to hit him.

“The fourth round was going exactly what we expected,” DaMatta told MMA Junkie. “Aljo was fading, shooting from far, and we ended up in that situation which was kind of like the front head lock and we were extensively working on that. My two cents on that situation is that I was telling him keep pushing the head down and just punch, punch, punch, because he would have done the same thing he did to Jose Aldo, which was spinning to the back and working his ground-and-pound from there, or just release and stand back up to try and knock him out. When Petr got in that situation, I was actually pretty happy that happened because that was a sign that Aljo was completely helpless.

“And I was pretty vocal saying ‘just punch, just punch, just punch.’ I don’t know if the two cornermen behind me said to kick or to knee. I don’t believe so. We spoke about that after the fight, and they both said that they said ‘hit him’ in Russian. I don’t know who said they advised him to kick or to knee. I believe it was Khabib telling DC, but again, Khabib wasn’t in the commentating booth. He was just around. I don’t know if he might have gotten confused. I don’t know what happened. I don’t understand Russian very well. … I have no idea what they were saying. I know what I was saying. I know what I wanted him to do, which was pretty much push the head down and just punch. Maybe a TKO would have happened then.”

Sterling has been showered with criticism after he was seen on his teammates’ social media posing with the belt on his shoulder, which sparked a back-and-forth between him and Yan. “Parrumpa” is hoping that the rematch gets booked as soon as May, and UFC president Dana White appears to be on the same page in wanting to get the fight rebooked as soon as possible.

Petr Yan’s coach clears up corner confusion in UFC 259 DQ loss to Aljamain Sterling