The first of UFC 251’s three title fights on Saturday was an entertaining affair until the final round, at which point Petr Yan rained blow after blow on Jose Aldo to the point that the announcers could not believe the fight was still going.
By the end of his fight, Aldo was down on his knees, guarding his head and doing little else to stop Yan from hitting him with painful shots. By significant strikes, the final round was absurdly one-sided.
Significant strikes were 62-1 Yan in the final round, per @ESPNStatsInfo— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
The fight was eventually stopped, with Yan taking the vacant UFC bantamweight championship.
Naturally, there was plenty of criticism for referee Leon Roberts, who had plenty of opportunities to stop the fight. Aldo, among the most respected veterans in MMA, was clearly finished.
Fighters and media alike were in disbelief that the fight continued as long as it did.
This is senseless. Aldo is done. Stop the fight.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
Wow what did Aldo do to this refereee???? STOP THE DAMN FIGHT.— Funky (@Benaskren) July 12, 2020
Wow that ref should not ref fights!!— Funky (@Benaskren) July 12, 2020
Late ass stoppage— Edmen Shahbazyan (@edmenshahbazyan) July 12, 2020
🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️ F😡😡king bad referee https://t.co/vKI6jHjtJf— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) July 12, 2020
Ive always argued to let fighters fight their way out when they’ve been caught and trying to recover. But when a fighter has no more fight in him and is too proud to tap you have to save him! #UFC251— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) July 12, 2020
And there it is. Roberts FINALLY stops it. Petr Yan is your new UFC bantamweight champion. And that was a DISGRACE by referee Leon Roberts allowing Aldo to take that much punishment— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 12, 2020
Terrible, horrible, inexcusable decision by referee Leon Roberts to allow Aldo to get pummeled that long with such hard shots. #UFC251— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 12, 2020
That referee did not protect Aldo. I’m fine giving a guy a chance to fight back, but the ref has a job to protect a fighter from unnecessary punishment. Bisping and Anik shouldn’t have to beg.— Dave Sholler (@DaveSholler) July 12, 2020
Aldo deserves better than that, get that ref outta here.— Gerald Meerschaert (@The_Real_GM3) July 12, 2020
Has an MMA referee ever been trending for a good reason?— Dann Stupp (@DannStupp) July 12, 2020
That was hard to watch. Aldo just ate shot after shot and the referee simply stood there. https://t.co/W5xKttC1wE— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) July 12, 2020
If that happened in 1997 that clip would have been used in attempts to ban the sport. Atrocious officiating.— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) July 12, 2020
It’s amazing how often the literal last person on earth who realizes a UFC fight should be stopped is the guy in charge of doing that.— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) July 12, 2020
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