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Aljamain Sterling: ‘Yes and no’ Sean O’Malley deserves title shot with Petr Yan win at UFC 280

Sean O’Malley is getting about as big of a leap up in competition as a fighter could ask for.

UFC 280 is set to be a loaded night of action on Oct. 22, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Amongst the crop of action will be two pivotal match ups in the Bantamweight division. Before the title is contested between division champion, Aljamain Sterling, and T.J. Dillashaw, rising star, O’Malley, is tasked with former champion, Petr Yan.

O’Malley versus Yan sees the No. 10-ranked 135-pound contender against the No. 1 seed. Therefore, a big upset victory for O’Malley would launch him directly into title contention, if not earn him a crack at the belt. Sterling will be watching ahead of his own bout and sees an O’Malley win leading to such a possibility.

“I mean, it would be hard to deny him, whether it was [against] me or T.J. Knock on wood, it’s me,” Sterling told LowKick MMA. “But yeah, it would be hard to deny the guy. I think that would be his second real test and if he passes it — it would just be kind of weird if he were to get a title shot over [Marlon] ‘Chito’ [Vera], the guy who knocked him out in the first round and under like three minutes. So, it would be kind of weird.

“I don’t know,” he concluded. “Yes and no. It might be a popularity contest, which the UFC kinda is, then I’d say it would be O’Malley.”

In his UFC run thus far, Yan has only tasted defeat in two of his 10 outings, which both came against Sterling. “Funkmaster” defended his title against Yan via a split decision at UFC 273 this past April 2022.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 280 fight card and rumors click here.

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