Russia has a new UFC world champion after Petr Yan scored a huge finish of former featherweight champion Jose Aldo to claim the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi.
Yan finished a bloody war with legend Aldo by strikes when referee Leon Roberts eventually stepped in to save the former champ from further punishment in the fifth round.
Yan becomes only the second Russian fighter in history to win a UFC title after 155 lbs king Khabib Nurmagomedov, bringing his record to 15-1.
Referee Roberts suffered severe criticism from many spectators for not stopping the fight earlier, with the 33-year-old Aldo taking a heavy beating through five rounds from the Russian.
A battered and bloody Aldo was finally rescued from further punishment when Roberts waved the fight off with Yan raining down blows on the ex-featherweight ruler with just over a minute and a half remaining of the final round.
But onlookers thought that Roberts let the veteran take too much punishment and should have waved the contest off before he finally brought a stop to proceedings.
With the win, Yan extended his UFC unbeaten streak to seven victories, tied for the longest string of wins in the organisation’s bantamweight history.