Sean O’Malley appears set for the biggest test of his career at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
For “Sugar,” the match up will be his first against a former UFC titleholder. Yan has been nearly flawless in his 10-fight run with the promotion, having only suffered defeats to current Bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling. With this step up in competition for O’Malley being somewhat drastic, the oddsmakers aren’t giving him the best of chances. Betonline.ag has the Contender Series alum opening as a +300 underdog to Yan’s -400 favorite.
O’Malley will enter the bout fresh off a second round “No Contest” against Pedro Munhoz that saw two of the three judges give round one to Munhoz. After an accidental eye poke, Munhoz was no longer able to continue fighting.
As for Yan, “No Mercy” intends to rebound from a tough split decision loss to the aforementioned Sterling in their UFC 273 rematch this past April (watch highlights). In Yan’s last two Abu Dhabi appearances, he captured Bantamweight gold in arguably his two career-best performances. First, Yan finished former Featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo, via fifth round technical knockout for the vacant crown (watch highlights), and most recently earned a unanimous decision against Cory Sandhagen in Oct. 2021 to become interim champion (watch highlights). The latter is sandwiched between his two Sterling bouts.
UFC 280 is already getting off to a hot start as two title fights are already on tap with a top contenders clash at 170 pounds. With the news of Yan vs. O’Malley, things continue to trend upward for the promotion’s return to “Fight Island.”
- 155 lbs.: Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev (vacant title bout)
- 135 lbs.: Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
- 170 lbs.: Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady
- 135 lbs.: Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley