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Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling react to illegal knee finish at UFC Vegas 21

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For the second week in a row there was a fight stopping illegal knee, but the outcome was very different. Here’s how everyone reacted.

UFC Fight Night: Anders v Stewart Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Another week, another crazy knee to the head of a downed opponent stopping a fight.

At UFC 259, it was Petr Yan kneeing Aljamain Sterling in the head and getting disqualified (watch it here), losing his bantamweight belt and kicking off a wave of abuse toward Sterling for being unable to continue following the crippling illegal blow. At UFC Vegas 21, it was Eryk Anders hitting Darren Stewart and eliciting a “No Decision” ruling from referee Herb Dean (watch it here).

Why was Yan vs. Aljo a disqualification and Anders vs. Stewart a “No Decision?” According to UFC’s rules and regulatory affairs expert Marc Ratner, “the ‘No Decision’ in the Anders-Stewart fight was due to the bout not going two full rounds and because the blow was deemed not intentional.”

Now it raises the question of why exactly Dean determined the blow to be “not intentional,” but expecting referee and judge decisions to make perfect sense all the time is apparently too much to ask for in today’s mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape. Let’s instead turn to how Yan and Sterling reacted to this different interpretation of the rules.

Sterling laughed off the situation, which is nice to see after a week where he was taking so much abuse and getting so worked up about the opinions of abusive sports fans.

Yan, on the other hand, threw some salt Anders’ way for a throwaway comment the middleweight made after Yan’s disqualification:

But hey, I’d probably still be in a bad mood if I lost a fight I was winning by disqualification. As of now, there’s still no news on when UFC plans to run back Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling for the inevitable rematch.

Gulp.