Reigning UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling retained his 135-pound title by capturing a split decision victory over former division titleholder Henry Cejudo in the UFC 288 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night (May 6, 2023) inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Check out the official (and highly debated) Sterling vs. Cejudo scorecard here.
After Sterling was declared the winner and Team Cejudo exited the cage, No. 2-ranked bantamweight title contender Sean O’Malley stormed the Octagon to face off against “Funk Master” and set up an potential championship showdown for later this year, which led to a heated exchange.
And a little thievery.
O’Malley tore off his coat, I guess because it looks cool when you clomp around the cage topless, or maybe it’s the universal sign for “I’m ready to go right now bro!” Either way, his Thriller jacket hit the floor and No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili — friend and teammate of the reigning champ — decided to help himself.
Have a look:
Merab Dvalishvili stole Suga Sean jacket LOL #ufc #ufc288 #merabdvalishvili #sugasean #seanomalley #aljamainsterling @MerabDvalishvil @ufc @SugaSeanMMA @funkmasterMMA pic.twitter.com/60YJNmK4tz— Nina-Marie Daniele (@ninamdrama) May 7, 2023
Dvalishvili deserves a “Performance of the Night” bonus for that move.
“You better look better than that,” O’Malley barked at Sterling during their heated face off, “You looked like s—t. You better be able to cut weight real soon.”
“So why’d you run?” Sterling countered. “Why’d you turn down the title shot? That’s what I thought. Because I’ll drag your ass up and down this Octagon. Get this piece of s—t out of my cage.”
Promotion President Dana White told reporters at the UFC 288 post-fight press conference (watch it here) that he hopes to book Sterling vs. O’Malley for the bantamweight title as part of the upcoming UFC 292 PPV event, recently made official for Aug. 19 at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., though nothing should be considered official at this time.
Especially with Sterling continually teasing a jump to featherweight.
For complete UFC 288 results and live play-by-play coverage of all the PPV action from Newark CLICK HERE. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 288: “Sterling vs. Cejudo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right RIGHT HERE.