Next month in Abu Dhabi, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be putting on one of its biggest events of the year with two title fights and a whole lot of other excitement to be found up and down the card.
That includes the incredibly enticing featured grudge match that looks set to go down between Sean O’Malley and Petr Yan, two men who have been teasing a confrontation for quite some time now.
The match-up doesn’t make sense in the eyes of some given the discrepancy in their experience levels, but you can’t argue against this being an incredibly fun fight on paper.
O’Malley has already tried to take some of the pressure off himself by suggesting he wouldn’t be too upset if he lost to ‘No Mercy’ but in equal measure, you can tell he’s training harder for this fight than any other he’s had in the UFC.
If you don’t believe us, believe what ‘Suga’ said during a recent episode of his podcast.
Video: Sean O’Malley is ready for Petr Yan challenge
“I’ve never watched tape. I’ve watched a little bit. Like, when I fought Pedro [Munhoz], I watched a little bit of the Dom [Dominick Cruz vs Pedro Munhoz] fight. I watched a little bit — But for this, for Petr, I’ve watched more. And this hasn’t been a ton, but like a little bit of the s*** you sent me. I’ve watched more on Petr than I have for previous opponents.”
“And we have f***ing such good partners, dude, right now — Marcus and then Jack, my buddy, Jack from the U.K. Just flew him down. He’s here for the rest of the camp; quick little f***er, good boxer. Marcus switches stances really well, like, has that forward pressure like Petr on.”
One step beyond
Ever since suffering his first defeat to Marlon Vera in summer 2020, Sean O’Malley has slowly but surely been building up some momentum in the unbelievably stacked bantamweight division.
He’s seen off the challenge of Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho and Raulian Paiva via stoppage, with his last outing against Pedro Munhoz ending in unfortunate circumstances due to an eye poke in the second round.
Yan, meanwhile, is coming off the back of consecutive and controversial defeats to the champ Aljamain Sterling, which is probably why he’s being heavily favoured to defeat his eccentric opponent.