No. 10-ranked Bantamweight contender, Pedro Munhoz, was desperate to hold onto his position on the heels of back-to-back losses, but he had his work cut out for him at UFC 276 tonight (Sat., July 2, 2022) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the form of fast-rising fan favorite, Sean O’Malley (No. 13).
Perhaps O’Malley’s talk about a slow rise and fighting easy opponents was enough to give “Young Punisher” the motivation he needed to turn away “Suga.” Indeed, O’Malley was taking a considerable step up in competition versus a very experienced opponent, one who would want nothing more than to try and take his head off or break down his historically fragile frame like Marlon Vera before him.
Nevertheless, in the end, it was all for naught, as in the middle of the second round, O’Malley accidentally poked Munhoz in the eye, ending the 135-pound bout prematurely.
O’Malley was the taller, more rangier fighter and started out using his length to gauge the distance with Munhoz early in the opening frame. The pair traded low kicks, with Munhoz more than likely trying to exploit that seeming weakness. Front kick from O’Malley, which he followed up with a jab, while Munhoz continued to counter low. O’Malley the aggressor, switching stances and feinting, looking for his opening to explode. Spinning back kick from O’Malley just missed, with Munhoz digging the outside calf in response. Overhand right from O’Malley found its mark, followed by a front kick that landed a bit low. The referee momentarily paused the action and the pair were back at it seconds later. Inside low kicks from Munhoz — who started to turn up the volume after the break — started to land furiously. O’Malley juked and jived, with Munhoz launching a high kick, which was easily blocked. High kick from O’Malley, which was also blocked, then a nice follow up side kick that found a home. With 10 seconds left, Munhoz whiffed on a spinning kick as the pair returned to their corners.
Close fight heading into the second stanza, with Munhoz opening up round two with a high kick. Another front kick from O’Malley, who reached for a jab to the belly. Overhand right from O’Malley, just barely missing with a follow up wheel kick. Still somewhat of a chess match midway through the fight. Low kick from Munhoz, then a one-two combination for O’Malley, who absorbed yet another calf kick on his exit. O’Malley pumping his jab, with Munhoz content to just fire those leg kicks in return. The action was stopped once again after an accidental eye poke from O’Malley, requiring the ringside physician to come in and take a look at Munhoz.
Munhoz was overheard saying that he couldn’t see anything but “black” out of his right eye. And seconds later, the referee waived off the contest.
Final result: No decision (accidental eye poke)
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