A UFC bantamweight matchup between former champion Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley is reportedly in the works for UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.
O’Malley announced the targeted matchup during a recent interview with ESPN’s Ryan Clark.
“I’m getting the fight that I wanted, and the fight that the people want,” O’Malley said. “I’m fighting Petr Yan, October 22nd in Abu Dhabi. I’m so excited for this, I almost can’t believe it’s real, it’s happening.”
The UFC has yet to make a formal announcement regarding the alleged O’Malley/Yan booking, but that could come soon. Daniel Rubenstein, Yan’s manager, later clarified that contracts have yet to be signed and the matchup has been verbally agreed upon during a recent episode of The MMA Hour.
O’Malley is coming off of a no-contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 due to an accidental eye poke in Round 2. An immediate rematch between O’Malley and Munhoz was a possibility, but it appears the promotion has opted to give O’Malley a big step up in competition.
Sean O’Malley Says He’s Fighting Petr Yan Next
Before the no-contest, O’Malley had earned three straight wins over Raulian Paiva, Kris Moutinho, and Thomas Almeida. His lone defeat in the Octagon came against Marlon Vera at UFC 252.
Leading up to UFC 276, Yan dared O’Malley to call him out if he were to secure a victory. Despite the result ending in a no-contest, it seems that Yan will get the fight he wants as well.
O’Malley and Yan have been linked to a potential fight for a while, but the booking comes a lot sooner than most expected. Some fans and pundits felt that O’Malley needed to win at least one more fight before earning a top-5 opponent.
The targeted O’Malley/Yan matchup would add to a stacked card in the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi. Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will headline for the vacant lightweight title and will feature a bantamweight title fight between Sterling and former champion TJ Dillashaw.
What are your thoughts on the rumored Sean O’Malley vs. Petr Yan matchup?