Saturday, November 26, 2022

Sterling Makes His Pick For Yan/O’Malley At UFC 280

UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling has given his prediction for two-time opponent Petr Yan‘s fight against Sean O’Malley at UFC 280.

While the poster for the October 22 pay-per-view showcases the vacant lightweight title headliner between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev at the top, two blockbuster bantamweight showdowns also feature for the stacked Abu Dhabi-held event.

Before reigning king Sterling defends his gold against former champ TJ Dillashaw in the co-main event, rising star O’Malley will look to secure a date with “Funkmaster” at the expense of #1-ranked contender Yan.

Having shared the Octagon twice with “No Mercy,” winning via disqualification at UFC 259 and by way of split decision at UFC 273 this past March, Sterling has gained a sizeable insight into the game of Yan, who’s held both undisputed and interim gold in the promotion.

With that in mind, the champ is well placed to assess O’Malley’s chances against the Russian. And although “Sugar” was one of the few who backed him to secure an upset victory in his rematch with Yan, Sterling hasn’t returned the favor.

Sterling: We Haven’t Seen O’Malley’s Toughness

During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Sterling broke down the other intriguing bantamweight collision set for the same card as his second title defense.

Backing former opponent Yan to emerge victorious on October 22, Sterling suggested that the Russian’s toughness, both in the mental and physical realms, will provide the edge for Yan come fight night.

“I got Yan,” Sterling said. “I think it’ll be an interesting fight, but I think the pressure of Yan, and I think the mental toughness and the toughness — again, I am not saying O’Malley’s not tough, we just haven’t seen it, and the one time the tough got going for him was against ‘Chito,’ and what he do? He rolled over… That leaves me with question marks around him; questions that have to be answered.”

O’Malley suffered his only professional loss to date against Marlon Vera in 2020. The TKO finish came after a kick to the perineal nerve left “Sugar” with a rare case of drop foot. “Chito” took advantage, securing the stoppage via ground-and-pound in the first round.

While he’s remained unbeaten since then, recording three wins and a disappointing no contest versus Pedro Munhoz last month at UFC 276, O’Malley is yet to defeat a ranked opponent.

Despite that, he’s been given a sizeable step up in competition for the UFC 280 PPV, and it’s one that he fully expects to make the most of come October 22.

Do you agree with Aljamain Sterling’s prediction for Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley?