UFC 259: Fighters react to illegal kick and controversial Yan-Sterling ending

Sterling leaves belt in Octagon after victory due to illegal knee from Yan (1:08)

After Petr Yan lands an illegal knee to the head of Aljamain Sterling, the fight is called off and Yan is disqualified, making Sterling the new bantamweight champion. (1:08)

Aljamain Sterling became UFC bantamweight champion in a shocking way Saturday in Las Vegas as an illegal knee forced a stoppage to his fight against Petr Yan.

With Sterling grounded, Yan held Sterling's arms and kneed the challenger in the face, which is an illegal strike. The fight was paused and after the cage doctor confirmed that Sterling could not continue, Yan was disqualified.

The world watched as Sterling struggled to get up and then was awarded the UFC belt. Sterling threw it to the ground and then fell to the Octagon floor in tears, stating in a postfight interview that this wasn't the way he wanted to win it.

Here's what UFC fighters had to say about the controversial moment at UFC 259.