With the disqualification due to an intentional foul, Sterling was crowned the new champion. The fight was stopped at 4 minutes, 29 seconds.
Sterling (20-3), 31, was coming off a dominant first-round submission victory over Cory Sandhagen in June. He has won six straight fights.
Yan (15-2), 28, was making the first defense of his title, which he won in July with a fifth-round stoppage of Jose Aldo.