Sean O’Malley continues to surprise.
Not many had backed ‘Sugar’ to claim a win last October in what was his biggest career test to date against former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan but when all was said and done at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi last year — but win he did, albeit in a split decision, to set up next weekend’s UFC 292 main event against dominant bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Against Yan, O’Malley showed that he will cause the champ problems. His long, rangy striking flummoxed the Russian on numerous occasions in the three-round fight, as he more than showed that he belongs in the upper echelon at 135-pounds.
Sterling, though, will present a very different test. The New Yorker is arguably the best pure grappler in the bantamweight division today and has various different methods in his arsenal to claim an opponent’s back before sinking in a fight-ending choke. But if O’Malley can use his striking effectively as he did against Yan, well, anything is possible.
Check out Yan’s razor-thin victory against the Russian below: