Sean O’Malley impresses in victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us today, October 22, 2022, live from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi for UFC 280.

The event is to be headlined by a UFC lightweight championship clash between no. 1 ranked Charles Oliveira (33-8) and no. 4 ranked Islam Makhachev (22-1), and it is to be co-headlined by UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (21-3), who aims to make the second defense of his title against former two-time divisional champion TJ Dillashaw (17-4).

Our feature fight of the evening came at 135 lbs between former UFC bantamweight champion, no. 1 ranked Petr Yan (16-3), and no. 11 ranked Sean O’Malley (15-1).

Yan has only ever lost twice inside the octagon, both controversial defeats to current champion Aljamain Sterling (DQ and split decision), while O’Malley comes in unbeaten in his last four outings, securing three knockouts in that time.

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Continue reading to see how this bantamweight contender bout went down:

Official Result: Sean O’Malley def. Petr Yan via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) 

O’Malley is looking very sharp early on; he’s doing a great job of feinting, switching stances, keeping his distance, and landing effective strikes. O’Malley lands some nice leg kicks and some very quick, accurate right hands during the opening stretch.

Yan is closing the distance with body kicks, and he’s also landing some nice leg kicks. He secures a takedown as well, though O’Malley doesn’t spend much time on his back.

O’Malley ducks under a punch thrown by Yan at the end of the round and ends up taking his back, to our surprise.

O’Malley picks up in the second where he left off in the first, he’s really looking great early on.

O’Malley catches Yan with a beautiful left hand and stuns him, before Yan lands a left hand of his own that badly stuns O’Malley.

Yan then secures a takedown immediately following and reigns down some ground-and-pound before O’Malley works his way back up. Yan begins to pull away in the latter stages of the second, pressing the action and out-working O’Malley.

It could either be 19-19 or 20-18 Yan going into the third and final round.

O’Malley is breathing heavy at the end of the second, but he comes out and gets back to work with his striking in the third, landing a lot of beautiful strikes on the former champion.

Yan is able to secure a couple takedowns in the third as well; O’Malley really hasn’t had to deal with someone trying to wrestle him this much before. But, in the end, he impressed us all with this very close decision victory over someone many believe should be the current champion right now.

Though this decision was razor-thin, it’s remarkable someone ranked outside of the top 10 defeated the no. 1 contender. Yan became the second no. 1 contender to lose his spot in the rankings today, Katlyn Chookagian being the first in her defeat to Manon Fiorot.

What an epic back-and-forth fight this was!

Sean O’Malley is now unbeaten in his last five fights, and Petr Yan suffers his second-straight split decision defeat.

Many believe Yan won both fights. Perhaps a move to 125 lbs would suit him well?

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