Will Sean O’Malley ace his first big test?
On the evening of July 2nd, 2022, Sean O’Malley had the first real test of his professional career against Pedro Munhoz. The fight ended in disappointment, with a no contest due to an eye poke. Currently, the UFC has booked O’Malley against the number one-ranked guy in the world in the bantamweight division, Petr Yan, who is coming off of a tough loss to the champion, Aljamain Sterling.
Yan was the bantamweight champion and was moments away from retaining his belt after a dominant performance over Sterling back in March of 2021. He then proceeded to hit Sterling with an illegal knee while he was grounded, which led to a disqualification. On April 9th, 2022, the two met again, and Sterling looked like a much different fighter and dominated the fight to retain his belt. Now that we know the background of these two fighters, we can get into how they got matched up. O’Malley is entering the prime of his career, and the UFC doesn’t want to see it go to waste. Up to this point, he hasn’t fought anyone at the level of Yan, who has fought nothing but the best. O’Malley has worked himself up as one of the most electric strikers in the sport, but with a disclaimer that his success has come against lower-ranked competition. O'Malley's fight against Munhoz was supposed to be the biggest test of his career. His next challenge is the number one guy in the world in a fight where the winner could be declared the next in line for a title shot. An added bonus for the UFC in the booking of this matchup is O’Malley and Yan's feuding social media exchanges over the last year. "I don’t see who else is going to beat Petr Yan other than me. I’m just a different animal," O’Malley says. Yan responds, saying, "We know what kind of animal it is." () Anybody who has any self-respect for themselves, or a warrior spirit would not take being called a poodle lightly. I expect fireworks on October 22nd with O’Malley telling Daniel Cormier, "Only a couple more weeks until I get to beat up Petr." I expect to be sitting down on October 22nd with some new wagers in hand and some new cold ones in hand, watching these two square up and end this rivalry. Will "Suga" Sean, who is the big underdog at +255, ace his biggest test of his career to possibly earn a title shot, or will Petr "No Mercy" Yan, who is the big betting favorite at -305, put an end to the hype train and earn himself another shot at the belt? I respectfully see this fight going in favor of the Suga show if he can get to Yan early. If O'Malley does not earn respect early, I expect Yan to walk out of UFC 280 victorious.