Russian tyro Petr “No Mercy” Yan brought down a legend of MMA in Jose “Junior” Aldo at UFC 215 on Sunday, and in claiming the UFC’s vacant bantamweight title via fifth-round TKO he continued to build his own. "I wanted to put pressure on him, make him tired and then start attacking after the third round," said Yan "That’s exactly what happened. “In the first and second round, he had hard punches and low kicks. I waited and pressured him. After the second round, I started to work. It was a good knockout. I liked it." Coming in, Yan had said that the title was his destiny, something he’d worked towards since a young boy getting into scraps out on the streets out of his hometown of Dudinka. RUSSIA HAS A NEW CHAMPION! @PetrYanUFC stops Aldo in the fifth! #UFC251 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/uITcE8ijba — UFC (@ufc) July 12, 2020 The 27-year-old (15-1) took plenty of punishment from Aldo (28-6) across the four rounds – something he fully expected given that man’s rich history in the sport. But every single time he took a shot – big ones to the body, and a few bang on the button – Yan would shake his head, he’d raise his fists, and he’d start moving forward. By the fifth round, the 33-year-old Aldo was feeling every year on the clock, and every blow to his body. By then it was a question of just trying to survive and when the Russian mounted him, and started ploughing in – elbows, fist, anything – there was nothing left for the ref to do but waive it all away at 3:24 on the clock. UFC 251: Namajunas edges Andrade war to set up title shot “I expected it to be a hard fight but then he hit my leg and I was forced to change my stance and it cut me up a little bit,” said Yan, who welcomed his second child two weeks ago. “It definitely motivated me coming into the fight,” he said. “It is a crazy situation in the world to prepare for this fight. The world was closed, but we worked hard to prepare. Aldo is a legend. I have only respect for him.” The stats were as frightening as Yan’s steely resolve. There were 194 significant strikes thrown by the Russian, to Aldo’s 83. It had started with Yan landing a huge shot that saw the veteran’s legs wobble, and the first round had ended with Aldo grimacing in pain after taking one to the gut. Yan’s coaching team have always said that he’s one out of the box when it comes to the force of the blows he lands, and throughout the fight he get letting rip into Aldo like he was working over a punching bag. Take nothing away from Aldo in terms of courage – and for two rounds he was giving as good as he got – but the sense as time went by was that Yan had found his range, and was growing in confidence. The doubters pointed to the fact that the best Yan had come up against before Aldo was a 40-year-old warrior in UFC Hall of Famer Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (35-11), whom he dismantled back in December. But you can only beat what’s in front of you. He found Aldo a handful – of course, given the former two-time champ’s pedigree – but the feeling is we still haven’t seen the very best of the Russian. He’s only 27. He’s 7-0 in the UFC. And the world is now at his feet.