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Xiaonan Yan Reacts to Controversy Surrounding End of First Round at UFC 300



Xiaonan Yan has issued a clarification about the chaotic end of the first round of her UFC 300 clash against Weili Zhang.

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Yan (18-4) challenged her compatriot for the strawweight title in UFC 300 co-main event last weekend. “Fury” showed an immense display of grit en route to an emphatic unanimous decision loss against the champ. Yan was caught in a deep rear-naked choke in the final seconds of the opening frame and appeared to have passed out as the clock expired. She was visibly struggling while walking back to her corner but managed to gather herself and go hard for four more rounds. The Chinese standout admits that she had almost passed out but not quite.

“I think since she took my back and she got the rear-naked choke position very quickly. But I still believe I can defend that,” the 34-year-old said on The MMA Hour. “And then when she swept me I was facing the roof of the arena and then I could see the clock on the big screen. So I saw that about 10 seconds left, I think, ‘OK I can go through this round.’ So at the last second when they ring bell, I was almost out. Just like somebody almost knocked me out, but I still recognized that I need to stand up immediately and I tried my best to walk to my corner to show that the fight is still able to continue.”

Ultimate Fighting Championship cutman Rudy Hernandez could be heard asking Yan’s corner if they wanted him to wake her up which they obviously agreed to. Hernandez could then be seen putting his finger on Xiaonan’s nostril to wake her up, prompting commentators Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier to conjecture if he used smelling salts. While Yan admits that she didn’t register much of what went down in that break, she is confident that smelling salts, which are banned, weren’t used to wake her up.

“So, to be honest I didn’t notice what the cornerman was doing between the rounds. Because when I went back to my corner I was still recovering from the choke. So, the only thing I can see is Urijah and Danny stood in front of me and they are talking. But I cannot absorb anything they said. Actually, I didn’t notice what the cornerman was doing… But the smell salts thing makes no sense. Nobody put those to let me smell that. No nobody used those things to wake me up. It makes no sense. It’s just like all my previous fights, you guys know it’s not allowed to be used.”

Former referee “Big” John McCarthy recently explained that cut man Hernandez had probably pressed his finger hard right below Yan’s nose to activate the nerve endings, a technique often used to revive rocked fighters.
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