Sean O’Malley is entering the biggest fight of his professional MMA career later tonight (Sat., June 6, 2020) at UFC 250 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, as he takes on bantamweight veteran and former UFC title challenger Eddie Wineland.
O’Malley, 25, has become one of UFC’s fastest rising and most promising young stars since his arrival over two years go. The man known has “Suga” has only amassed a 3-0 record inside of the Octagon, but he remains undefeated in his career (11-0) and has looked exponentially better each and every time he steps into the cage. His most recent win, a first-round TKO over Jose Quinonez at UFC 248 (highlights HERE), is proof that O’Malley is ready to take the next step in his UFC journey.
That next step will happen tonight against Wineland, a 35-year-old veteran with 20 UFC/WEC fights under his belt including matchups with the likes of Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Renan Barao, Brad Pickett, Scott Jorgensen, Takeya Mizugaki, and John Dodson. O’Malley is hoping he can stand out among the pack and become just the third fighter in the past 10 years to finish Wineland via strikes.
“I feel like is gonna be a perfect match-up for something like [a viral knockout],” said O’Malley during UFC 250’s virtual media day (see it HERE).
“His hands are low, he’s a brawler, he’s not gonna come out and try to lay on me. The cage is small so he’s probably going to try and get started right away and be aggressive ... whether he comes forward – heavy knockout – or if he lets me push him backwards, he’ll get knocked out. It works out perfectly.”
Despite his rising stardom within the UFC’s jam-packed bantamweight division, O’Malley is still trying to make up for lost time and prove his skills have evolved to an elite level. That’s because “Suga” has logged just one trip to the Octagon since March 2018 due to battles with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and nagging injury.
“It was a little depressing but it wasn’t like I wasn’t getting up in the morning getting excited for the gym,” said O’Malley about his recent absence from the cage.
“I knew I was going to eventually fight again ... I had two surgeries within those two years. They helped me reach my full potential as an athlete. It’s a huge part of why I’m so athletic [now]. I had some injuries that didn’t allow me to be that athlete. Then you add in my jiu jitsu, discipline, diet and everything.”
If time off from fighting allowed O’Malley to improve his overall abilities as a fighter it showed in his last fight with Quinonez. “Suga” is looking to take his return to even greater heights this weekend at UFC 250 as he lands himself on yet another PPV main card, which includes other prominent bantamweight contenders like Cody Garbrandt, Aljamain Sterling, Cory Sandhagen, and Raphael Assuncao.
“The stakes in the bantamweight division are super high right now with those other fights,” he said. “I feel like I’m taking away a lot of the hype from those fights, which is good. That’s what I’m here for, pure entertainment and the legitimate skills to back it up.
“It’s not just the crazy hair, the tattoos, the personality. I have legitimately high-level MMA skills. I’m excited to go there and show it and keep climbing up.”
Should O’Malley land the “virtual knockout” he’s looking for against Wineland it’s safe to say the promotion will finally let him loose. The young prospect would surely earn a divisional ranking and likely a shot at a top 10 opponent his next time out.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 250 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
See the complete UFC 250 fight card and lineup right here.