Despite a lacklustre showing at UFC 276, ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley is set to enter the heart of the lion’s den, as he announced on the DC & RC show that he is scheduled to fight Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan at UFC 280, currently slated to take place in Abu Dhabi.
Petr Yan, former UFC bantamweight champion, is coming off an extremely close and competitive losing effort against current champion Aljamain Sterling, and a win over a fighter with O’Malley’s level of public appeal and hype would be a major boon to his campaign to challenge for the title once again, now that Sterling is officially confirmed to be defending his belt against T.J. Dillashaw next. As for O’Malley, who currently occupies the #13 spot on the UFC Bantamweight rankings, a win over the clear second-best fighter in the division takes him from the fringes of ranking competition straight towards a shot at the gold. It is almost impossible to imagine a scenario where O’Malley is victorious over Yan and is not given an opportunity to compete against the winner of Sterling/Dillashaw for the world championship.
O’Malley’s previous fight against Pedro Munhoz was not the kind of showing that would traditionally launch a top 15 fighter into a guaranteed title eliminator, with the bout being deemed a No Contest following an unintentional eye-poke from O’Malley in the second round rendered Munhoz unable to continue. The first round was hardly painting the picture of a breakout performance for ‘Suga’, with Munhoz taking the round on two of the three judges’ scorecards, although fan opinion was distinctly more divided.
UFC 280 is slated to take place on October 22nd, 2022 and a match for the vacant lightweight title between Charles Oliveria and Islam Makhachev is expected to headline the event.
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