No. 15-ranked Bantamweight contender, Raulian Paiva, was up against the self-described “unranked champion,” Sean O’Malley, kicking off UFC 269’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card tonight (Sat., Dec. 11, 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. O’Malley is among the promotion’s most popular young fighters, one that Dana White and Co. have been careful to groom because he is not a killer like Khamzat Chimaev.
Nevertheless, the goal was to showcase “Suga” and possibly steal the show from the jump, and after 4.5 minutes of action mission accomplished, with O’Malley scoring an electric first round technical knockout victory.
O’Malley started the action with a front kick out of his Southpaw stance, with Paiva grabbing the next kick and driving “Suga” into the fence. O’Malley circled out and the pair returned to the center of the Octagon, with O’Malley pumping a jab and inadvertently landing a low blow that stopped the action momentarily. Paiva scored with a nice body kick when the action resumed, with O’Malley pumping the jab and missing with a right hook. Paiva with a nice low kick that O’Malley didn’t appear to like much, with O’Malley feinting like crazy and scoring with a nice straight left. The pair exchange kicks, with O’Malley scoring again with a pair of hard jabs upstairs from distance. With 30 seconds remaining in the opening frame, O’Malley dropped Paiva with a huge right hand. He was hurt bad, but got back to his feet. O’Malley was careful coming in, landed a hard body shot before going back to work upstairs while he was pressed up against the fence. O’Malley dropped him again after a ferocious combination, with Paiva getting back up to his feet, only to get dropped once more after another blistering combination along the fence.
What a clean finish! O’Malley looked very composed — patiently waiting for an opening and then exploiting it like a madman the moment it presented itself.
It’s pretty clear that O’Malley will now be a ranked fighter heading into 2022 and will have a full slate of willing and able contenders to work his way through toward the top.
Better late than never.
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