Petr Yan slipped a cat in a poke. O’Malley is a bigger threat than Sterling

Denis Dorofeev

Denis Dorofeev

UFC 280: Petr Yan vs. Sean O'Malley

For Sugar, this is the fight of a lifetime. And for a Russian, this is just a passing opponent.

On October 22, Petr Yan will return to the octagon at UFC 280. This time on Fight Island, he will face the self-confident and very daring Sean O’Malley. However, Sugarok got this fight not for his merits, which cannot be called extraordinary, but for his image, trash talk and bright performances against outright no-names. What is the difference in the rankings: Jan is first in the division, and O’Malley is only 13th.

On paper, the Russian is the clear favorite. And it is worth wondering why the UFC matchmakers went on about the hype and made this meeting. In October last year, Peter fought Corey Sandhagen for the interim championship belt. And now the 29-year-old Russian will butt heads with some kind of misunderstanding. Even Khamzat Chimaev did not receive such an honor when they gave him Gilbert Burns.

But still, Sugar is no less dangerous for Peter than Sterling. When it came to fighting Aljo, everyone said that you need to learn how to defend against Sterling’s passes. In the first meeting, Yang successfully coped with this task, and in the rematch, two judges did not have enough objectivity in assessing the first round.

In general, those opponents who know how to hit hard, and not choke, are the most dangerous. O’Malley is just one of them. He has excellent plasticity and amazing anthropometry for the lightest weight (height – 180 cm and arm span – 183 cm). It is not the first time for Peter to fight against lanky fighters – the fight with Sandhagen confirms this. But Sean is able to throw something out of nowhere, for example, turntables, for which our fighter may not be ready. This element of surprise made a reputation for the American.

Most likely, Peter will work mainly on percussion technique. And that means another training camp in Thailand. The last camp in Tae resulted in a loss to Sterling. Therefore, we do not expect any radical changes from Jan. And that’s good news for O’Malley, who knows what to prepare for.

If an American during the training camp realizes that he won’t get far on one stroke, then he will connect wrestling training, which can become an additional trump card. For Sugarka, this is the main fight of his life. Either he gets brutally destroyed or he pulls off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Why the motivation will go off scale, and he will work hard like never before.

Sean O'Malley

Sean O’Malley

Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Just think how much of a blow it would be for Peter if he lost. Dana White will definitely not give him a chance at the title. And Yan will have to forget that he has four fights left under the contract, because it is impossible to wash off such a shame, but it’s easier to just leave the UFC. Just imagine: in 2021 he was the champion, and in 2022 he loses to the person from the bottom of the rankings. But we hope that such a scenario will not come true.

It is clear that Ian does not take him as seriously as Sterling or Sandhagen, but as a random shot from the bottom of the division. O’Malley’s position in the rankings can play a trick on our fighter. Now Peter is in first place, and all the other fighters, except for Sterling and Dillashaw, dream of throwing the Russian fighter off the top. In principle, he could wait for the result of the championship fight and fight the winner, but Peter decided to take a big risk. Therefore, the fight with O’Malley is no less important than with Sterling or Sandhagen. And from a reputational point of view, this is definitely the most important fight in the career of our fighter.

According to an interview on the Vestnik MMA YouTube channel, it seemed that Peter had had enough of fighting and he did not have the same hunger with which he broke into the UFC. But Jan is not yet 30 years old. And it remains to be hoped that in two months he really rebooted and is ready to tear, as before. But for this he needs to destroy the daring underdog in his best traditions. This hype cannot last forever.

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