O’Malley will face the toughest test of his young UFC career when he faces former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 280. The fight will be a three-round bout and could potentially earn him the next title shot with a victory.
The UFC rarely puts fighters with the strength of schedule of O’Malley right at the top of the division to face a top contender like Yan. But, he hasn’t been an ordinary fighter since he made his debut.
O’Malley has earned a series of impressive knockout finishes in the Octagon since earning a shot on Dana White‘s Contender Series in 2017. Five years later, he’s one of the biggest names in the promotion.
To get you excited for UFC 280, ESPN has put together some of the best highlights from O’Malley’s time in the UFC.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Alfred Khashakyan (2017)
O’Malley’s ‘Suga Show’ made its debut in front of UFC audiences when he knocked out Alfred Khashakyan on DWCS in 2017.
It was a striking clinic from start to finish for O’Malley in the first round of the fight. He showed great head movement and was able to weave through Khashakyan’s early advances.
With seconds left in the first round, O’Malley caught Khashakyan with a brutal punch that collapsed his opponent and secured a UFC contract.
Sean O’Malley Vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (2020)
Three fights into his UFC career, O’Malley faced a tough test against the veteran José Alberto Quiñónez and aced it with flying colors.
O’Malley had his way earlier dipping in and out of range. This time around, it was his kicks that led the path to victory as he repeatedly landed on Quiñónez’s midsection and head.
After dropping Quiñónez with a head kick, he finished the fight with ground-and-pound punches to remain unbeaten to that point in his professional career.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Eddie Wineland (2020)
O’Malley got his first test against a proven veteran Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 on one of the biggest cards of the year.
O’Malley expected a ferocious Wineland to try to pressure him with pace and precision early and often. This ended up backfiring in a big way for Wineland as O’Malley countered him with a knockout punch just under two minutes into the fight.
The win also earned him what was at the time his third-straight post-fight bonus.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Thomas Almeida (2021)
O’Malley proved that the notion of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ also applies to UFC prospects when he battled Thomas Almeida at UFC 260.
It wasn’t an easy night in the Octagon for O’Malley over the first two rounds. Almeida, who has faced some of the top contenders in the history of the division, gave O’Malley some early issues with his movement.
As the fight progressed, so did O’Malley’s range and timing recognition, as he dismantled Almeida with a big punch in Round 3. He got back in the win column after his first career loss to Marlon Vera.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Kris Moutinho (2021)
O’Malley and Kris Moutinho put on a nearly three-round war at UFC 264.
They battled on the main card of UFC 264, a card headlined by a trilogy between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. As fans looked ahead to the main event, O’Malley put on a show with his boxing and turned Moutinho’s face into a bloody mess.
While Moutinho showed incredible toughness and grit, the referee stopped the action late in Round 3 as O’Malley continued to dish out brutal punishment.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Raulian Paiva (2021)
O’Malley’s most recent win came against Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 last December.
O’Malley entered the fight with a significant reach advantage against Paiva in their matchup. This ended up being a major factor in the fight as O’Malley made quick work of Paiva in the Octagon by dictating the pace.
O’Malley earned yet another post-fight bonus before a no-contest against Pedro Munhoz in July at UFC 276.
Check out the complete video compilation of some of Sean O’Malley’s best UFC highlights below.