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Sean O’Malley next fight: 3 opponent options, including Merab Dvalishvili

sean o'malley next fight
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

The latest Sean O’Malley next fight news should be coming soon, but until a return date is booked for the rainbow-haired bantamweight star, we take a look at three possible opponent options for “sugar”. Plus, we recap his surprise win over former division king Petr Yan at UFC 280.

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Who will Sean O’Malley next fight be against?

O’Malley’s victory over Yan was one of the most controversial moments at the UFC’s October pay-per-view extravaganza. While many felt the Russian did enough to win all three rounds, the judges in Abu Dhabi gave the nod to the American.

The winner was expected to be next in line for 135-pound champion Aljamain Sterling, however, the questionable victory makes that far from a guarantee. That is why Dominick Cruz, Ricky Simon, or Merab Dvalishvili are strong next-fight options.

  • Dominator: While a matchup with Cruz may not make as much sense as it might have a year ago, much of the top 10 are booked in bouts. This makes a filler fight to stay busy against a division legend an easy Fight Night main event and a nice addition to “Sugar’s” hit list.
  • The Wrestler: O’Malley’s detractors have long wanted to see him face a gifted wrestler. Ricky Simon fits that bill. And if he can beat Yadong Song in April, he would be worthy of a spotlight fight against O’Malley.
  • The Machine: Another wrestler option would be Dvalishvili. If “The Machine” can beat Yan at UFC Vegas 71, a clash with O’Malley would be one of the best non-title fights that could be made in the division. A win would also solidify the American’s place as a top contender.

Related: UFC tonight – Fight card, betting odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC event

Sean O’Malley vs Petr Yan recap

sean o'malley next fight
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

O’Malley vs Yan will go down as one of the most controversial fight results in recent bantamweight history. The booking was a matchup of two of the very best in the division and ended with a decision that some consider an outright robbery against former titlist Yan.

What happened: The pair went to war for 15 minutes in one of the most entertaining fights in the division in 2022. Both men damaged each other, and Yan resorted to his grappling to try and control and score points on “Sugar.” It was a showcase for both men and displayed to many fight fans that O’Malley has a better chin and bigger heart than they had realized.

The fallout: After three rounds, O’Malley was awarded a surprising split decision victory that was the biggest of his career. His detractors will be as loud as ever following UFC 280, but there is no question he is one of the top UFC bantamweights in the world.

The roadmap: The winner of the bout was expected to be the division’s top contender. However, with the controversy from the result, that now seems in doubt.

The Sugar Show: O’Malley has become an immediate star in the UFC by being a cocky fighter with the ability to back up his brash boasts nearly every time. He has a fan-friendly fight style and usually gives them what they want. Seeing fighters get physically embarrassed and put to sleep by a destructive striker is a big part of his draw.

  • Sean O’Malley record: 16-1-1 (11 knockouts, 1 submission)
  • Sean O’Malley last fight: Split-decision win over Petr Yan
  • Sean O’Malley wife: The UFC star is in an open marriage with Danya Gonzalez
  • O’Malley has 16 career victories, with seven coming in the fabled Octagon. He has a 78% finish rate, with 11 KOs and one submission win as he enters his seventh year as a pro fighter.
  • “Sugar” has sent nine of his opponents home in the first round, including Raulian Paiva, Alfred Khashakyan, and UFC and WEC stalwart Eddie Wineland.
  • His lone loss came to Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 252 in August 2020. Although the win is listed as a technical knockout loss, O’Malley suffered a freak injury from a Vera kick that made it a little different than typical TKO defeats.

The Influencer: With his rainbow-colored hairdo and tattoos adorning his body and face, O’Malley is a fighter perfect for the 18 to 32-year-old demographic of UFC fans today. And it shows in his reach on social media platforms.

  • Despite only being in the organization for a few years, O’Malley already has over three million followers across his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
  • Not to be outdone, the multi-talented “Sugar Sean” also has close to 400,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. Where he recently made headlines after posting a video of handing out thousands of dollars to random Walmart shoppers on Christmas Eve 2021.

Sean O’Malley’s net worth

The measure of a fighter’s success is in dollars and cents stacked up from a career in professional fisticuffs. It is still early days for O’Malley, but his net worth is estimated to be $850,000.