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Petr Yan put an emphatic stamp on his bantamweight championship victory at UFC 251, as he battered Jose Aldo with a barrage of brutal ground-and-pound to force a stoppage at the 3:24 mark of Round 5.
At times, Yan had Aldo trapped in a crucifix position, and at others, the Brazilian veteran was turtled in survival mode. Referee Leon Roberts gave Aldo plenty of leeway to keep going, and the ex-featherweight king often shifted position just enough to allow the onslaught to proceed. Eventually, Yan would not be denied.
“I think everything was right,” Yan said through a translator at the UFC 251 post-fight press conference. It’s a championship fight between two warriors, so just not to leave any questions behind, the referee made this choice.”
Dana White had a different viewpoint regarding the officiating decision that left Aldo bloodied and battered on the Octagon floor at the conclusion of the bout.
“Horrible, horrible stoppage by the referee,” White said. “It should’ve been stopped way sooner, you know. It looks like we have to tighten up our refs and judges here in ‘Fight Island.'”
Despite the difficult conclusion, Aldo had his moments against Yan, especially early in the bout when he blended his trademark kicks with crisp boxing to make the opening 15 minutes quite competitive. The Nova Uniao star was an oft-criticized choice to receive a shot at the vacant 135-pound strap after having lost his bantamweight debut to Marlon Moraes in December. White won’t be pushing for the ex-champ to retire after Saturday’s performance.
“I thought Aldo looked great for people that were criticizing him saying he doesn’t deserve another title shot,” White said. “He fought the next guy lined up for a title shot and he looked damn good doing it, he can do whatever he wants.”
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