UFC 276 we see a clash between #9 Pedro Munhoz and the #13 Sean O’ Malley. This contest will have a lot of eyes watching to see what the result will be between these two big names of this stacked 135-pound division. This fight can be extremely pivotal for both men’s careers as well as the trajectory of the bantamweight division.
Sean O’Malley has Lots to Prove in Fight Against a Desperate Pedro Munhoz
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Sean O’ Malley
The fan-favorite “Suga” Sean O’ Malley has made quite the splash since joining the UFC roster back in December of 2017. His personality inside and outside has captured audiences’ attention, embracing video game and weed culture, as well as his unique striking style. Feints, switching stance, distance management, timing, spinning strikes, finishing ability, and even taunts inside the Octagon have made his style an interesting one to see a clash with the elite of this division full of big names. The only thing most say O’ Malley is missing is a strong strength of schedule. Most of the opponents he has fought were very green into their UFC career or they were coming off of a loss. Chito Vera is the only opponent “Suga” has fought who does not fit into either criteria and O’Malley ended up losing in the first round via TKO. In a scenario where he was to beat Vera, we would have seen the fan-favorite catapulted to fight bigger names, but that opportunity was missed. However, on UFC 276 International Fight Week against Pedro Munhoz, he can right that wrong by defeating the durable Brazilian. Munhoz has only fought the who’s who of this division and if O’Malley can join the names of the former champions who have beaten Munhoz like Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and Dominick Cruz the 27-year-old will be closer to the names many wish to see him face.
Going into his 2019 contest against Aljamain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz was 7-1 in his last 8 contests most of the time battering his opponents with his body kicks and calf kicks or suffocating them with his signature guillotine choke. He got the fans’ attention when he knocked out Cody Garbrandt on UFC 235 and talks of Munhoz being close to a title shot became more frequent. Then he ran into Aljamain Sterling who he lost to via Unanimous Decision. Hard times would begin as Munhoz would lose three of his next four. Now he is on the cusp of a three-fight losing streak if he loses to O’ Malley. However, with a win over “Suga”, he can not only break this streak, but he can take some of the momentum with a win over such a big name with so many watching.
The Deep Bantamweight Division
The 135-pound weight class has so many big names in addition to the champion Aljamain Sterling like former champions TJ Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz, and Petr Yan as well as champions from other divisions like Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and contenders who have become familiar to the UFC fan base like Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font. At one point or another, they have all been asked about Sean O’ Malley in interviews or “Suga” has called them out or has talked about fighting them. However, O’ Malley has not faced the type of opponents to garner the previous names mentioned. A win over Pedro Munhoz though would answer many questions like how is O’ Malley’s durability, how does he deal with an opponent of Munhoz’s level, and if he can get a finish over the Brazilian who has never been finished.