Welcome to Midnight Mania!
The two most recently crowned UFC champions already have beef.
Alexandre Pantoja scored gold from Brandon Moreno in a narrow split-decision win at UFC 290 last month, while Sean O’Malley knocked out Aljamain Sterling just last weekend in the headlining fight of UFC 292 (watch it). Pantoja is a career Flyweight, and “Suga” has never expressed any interest in dropping weight, so most wouldn’t expect any issue between the two men.
However, Pantoja replied to an Instagram question, explaining that he would like to fight O’Malley because of a prior training session, alleging that “Suga” talks too much and owes him the footage. It didn’t take O’Malley long to respond online, claiming that he knocked out the Brazilian — something nobody has managed to accomplish in his 30-fight pro career.
It’s def not cool to call out ppl below you in weight so I def won’t even mention that I’d knock Alex Pantoja out…. Again— Sean O'Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) August 24, 2023
Now, O’Malley has elaborated further on their sparring session. According to “Suga,” the two threw down in 2015 at his home gym of The MMA Lab, when a visiting Henry Cejudo and Alexandre Pantoja showed up in search of training partners. A mildly hungover O’Malley whopped on Pantoja and finished him in the first round, then got tired and was submitted in the third.
“Does he want me to post it? I finished him in the first round. I can post that, I wasn’t gonna bring it up, if that’s what he wants. That’s funny,” Sean O’Malley explained on his podcast (via BJPenn.com). “I mean, does he forget how it played out? I will say in the third round he choked me. But, dude I was like 1-0 or 2-0 as a pro. He was coming off ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ making his UFC debut, two weeks out from his UFC debut. I was f—king smoking joints the night before just like not expecting Henry Cejudo and him to roll into the gym, write my name down for two rounds.
“So I’m having to sparring this dude two rounds in a row. Not in camp, not in shape. Finish him in the first round. They’re f—king pissed. Spar him again in the second round. I’m 100% gassed out from already whooping his ass,” O’Malley continued. “Henry’s yelling, we want him for three, we want him for three! In the video, I’m not sure if you can hear it, but maybe you can. Henry was saying, hold off on the punches. Like he said, I was punching him too hard. Benson’s (Henderson) in the corner for the second to the third round, yelling they don’t come into this gym and we don’t get f—king tired! And I’m gassed the f—k out. So, he does choke me in the third round. This has gotta be 2015, like this is a long time ago.”
At the moment, this seems highly unlikely to lead anything. Both men are very new champions with plenty of contender options at their own weight classes. More importantly, O’Malley has more high-profile foes like Marlon Vera pounding at his door, a grudge match that would move a lot more pay-per-view (PPV) buys than a Flyweight double champ fight.
THE MFING DAMAGE RETURNS!
Boxing continues to frustrate in booking the matches people really want to see.
Tank Davis will face Isaac 'Pitbull' Cruz in a rematch in his next fight. Team Davis didn’t want to fight Devin Haney or Shakur Stevenson. Because they believed the money is better in the Mexican challenger. pic.twitter.com/i7JhpRIciH— SAY CHEESE! (@SaycheeseDGTL) August 25, 2023
Incredible momentum and drive on this throw:
Perfect fundamentals are so nice to watch. Then, a bit of flair at the end as a bonus!
There’s been some confusion about whether or not Merab Dvalishvili needs time to recover or wants Aljamain Sterling to get an instant rematch first, but “The Machine” says he can fight for the belt in December.
“I don’t want to play with you anymore.”
The UFC anti-trust lawsuit may result in some massive manager drama in October ... Does he know?!?
Rude awakening coming for MMA managers? pic.twitter.com/34LKwYyju3— Erik Magraken (@erikmagraken) August 23, 2023
I bet this guy and the inject-myself-with-green-goop guy could be friends.
Bringing a fake knife to a face off is next level ☠️ pic.twitter.com/IFund0nNMk— MMA Mania (@mmamania) August 24, 2023
Slips, rips, and KO clips
Awful officiating aside, was this the last great season of TUF?
Just recently started rewatching season 10 of TUF bruh this has to be the worst stoppage in Ultimate Fighter history ♂️ pic.twitter.com/jOqeZUDYSz— Andre Eazy (@TheMacNameDre) August 23, 2023
Can’t be lazy during active competition.
Heel to the liver:
A unique double play.
Midnight Music: Indie pop, 2006
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.