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Sean O'Malley vs. Petr Yan Bantamweight Fight Set for UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi

Doric SamJuly 20, 2022

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Rising UFC bantamweight contender "Suga" Sean O'Malley is getting a major step-up in competition.

In an interview with ESPN's Ryan Clark, O'Malley revealed he will face former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22. Yan is currently ranked as the No. 1 contender at 135 pounds, by far the highest-ranked opponent for O'Malley in his young career.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

.<a href="https://twitter.com/SugaSeanMMA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SugaSeanMMA</a> announced during an interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/Realrclark25?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Realrclark25</a> that he will fight <a href="https://twitter.com/PetrYanUFC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PetrYanUFC</a> next at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi 📍 <a href="https://t.co/MDiRGLZNuW">pic.twitter.com/MDiRGLZNuW</a>

O'Malley's last fight at UFC 276 on July 2 ended in a no-contest after his opponent, Pedro Munhoz, couldn't continue after an eye-poke. The 27-year-old had been victorious in his previous three fights.

Since making his UFC debut in 2017, O'Malley (15-1, 1 NC) has been one of the more popular fighters in the sport thanks to his striking skills and flashy knockouts. However, he's faced criticism for his fight selection, as most of his wins have come against unranked opponents. A fight against Yan is sure to quiet that chatter.

Despite no longer holding a championship belt, Yan (16-3) is still considered one of the best fighters in the UFC, coming in at No. 13 in the pound-for-pound rankings. He's coming off a split-decision loss to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling in a title unification bout at UFC 273 on April 9.

O'Malley told Clark he sought out the toughest fight in the division so he can test his skills against a former champ.

"I'm getting the fight that I wanted and the fight that the people want," O'Malley said. "In my eyes, Petr is the No. 1 contender right now. He's pretty much 1-1 against Aljo ... he could be considered the champion. ... Going in there and stepping up against a guy like Petr is exciting, it's motivating and it's the biggest fight in the bantamweight division right now."

UFC 280 will be headlined by a lightweight championship fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev.

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