What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 260?

Sean O'Malley

This past Saturday at UFC 260, the Suga Show returned to the octagon. On the PPV main card, Sean O’Malley (13-1) took on Thomas Almeida (22-5) in a big matchup in the bantamweight division.

There is no questioning the fact that Sean O’Malley has star appeal. The young bantamweight contender has amassed a big following on social media and his fighting style/personality makes him a very polarizing figure.

O’Malley suffered his first career loss back at UFC 252 against Chito Vera (16-7-1). In that fight, O’Malley started very well, but ultimately, the calf kicks of Chito Vera cut down the young contender and Vera got the TKO win.

This was a huge fight for O’Malley because a loss would be detrimental to his appeal. Thomas Almeida at one point was looked at as a future UFC champion. He was once 21-1, however, a skid had him 1-3 in his last four leading to UFC 260.

Unfortunately for Almeida, the skid didn’t stop. Outside of landing some decent kicks, Almeida was completely dominated by O’Malley. O’Malley ended up scoring a massive third round KO to show the world that UFC 252 wasn’t the end of the Suga Show after all.

What’s next after UFC 260?

Prior to his loss to Vera, O’Malley had just entered the UFC’s top fifteen at bantamweight. With Vera in that fifteenth spot, I don’t expect to see O’Malley in the rankings when they get updated tomorrow.

However, I believe he needs to fight a ranked opponent in his next fight. There are a couple of options out there for the Suga Show. One fight I like is the winner of the upcoming Cody Stamann – Merab Dvalishvili fight. 

Whoever would win between that winner and O’Malley would shoot into the top ten of the division. However, there’s another intriguing matchup that Chael Sonnen mentioned on Saturday night.

That matchup would be against former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3). Cruz just got back on the winning track after a lengthy layoff at UFC 259. A matchup between the two would make a lot of sense for both.

For O’Malley, it would give him the chance to defeat a former UFC champion and arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. For Dominick Cruz, he could make a statement to O’Malley’s following that he’s still here and he’s not going anywhere. Several compelling options for The Suga Show.

Sean O’Malley knocks Thomas Almeida out at UFC 260

Sean O'Malley

The third fight on the UFC 260 main card was a bantamweight showdown between “Suga” Sean O’Malley (12-1) and Thomas Almeida (22-4). Both of these men were looking to get back on track after a loss in their last outing.

Back at UFC 252, Sean O’Malley saw his perfect record see it’s first blemish in a loss to Chito Vera. After a good start from O’Malley, Vera landed some beautiful calf kicks that deadened the leg of O’Malley.

After that, Vera followed up and got the TKO win. O’Malley has become a star with a huge following, but in order for his star to grow, he needed to get back on track with a win tonight.

Standing in his way was Thomas Almeida. Almeida was once considered the future of the UFC‘s bantamweight division. At one point, he was 21-1 and looked like he was closing in on a title shot.

However, that is where he ran into Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt knocked him out in the first round and starting with that loss, Almeida is just 1-3 in his last four. UFC 260 was a massive opportunity for him to get back on track.

UFC 260 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 260 bantamweight contest opened with a touch of the gloves. O’Malley moves forward immediately and looks to land a 1-2. Almeida gets his striking going with a calf kick.

O’Malley keeps looking for the left hand throughout the first minute. Another calf kick lands for Almeida, but O’Malley counters with his own big leg kick. A big body kick lands for O’Malley.

A nasty spinning back kick to the body lands for O’Malley. Almeida pushes forward and lands a massive left hook, but O’Malley just ate it. Another big body kick lands for Sean O’Malley.

The kicks were working everywhere for The Suga Show in the first. A massive head kick lands and Almeida goes down. O’Malley walks away, but the fight wasn’t stopped. Almeida gets up and they keep fighting.

Another huge head kick lands for O’Malley, but Almeida took this one clean. Almeida pushes forward and lands a good right hand to close the round. Dominant opening round at UFC 260 for Sean O’Malley.

Round 2

Almeida seemed to have recovered to start the second round at UFC 260. O’Malley opens the striking with a straight left hand. Almeida was struggling with the distance and O’Malley catches him with a clean combination.

A good low kick lands for Almeida and it sits down O’Malley briefly. Another massive low kick lands for Almeida. A side kick to the leg lands for O’Malley and it briefly buckles the leg of Almeida.

A couple of clean left hands land for Sean O’Malley. 1-2 up the middle for O’Malley. Again, it appears that Thomas Almeida was struggling with the distance. Front kick to the body lands for Sean O’Malley.

One minute left in the round and O’Malley starts pushing forward. However, Almeida lands some massive leg kicks that backs him off. O’Malley slips on a flying knee attempt and the round ends. I think it’s 2-0 O’Malley at UFC 260.

Round 3

Heading into the final round at UFC 260 and I think Almeida needs the finish in this one. The two touch gloves and the action begins. A good front kick lands to start for O’Malley.

A huge low kick from O’Malley swings Almeida around. Almeida looks for an entry, but O’Malley lands another front kick to the leg which made him back off. O’Malley was just picking Almeida apart here in the first 90 seconds.

A huge 1-2 lands for Sean O’Malley. Almeida starts pressing forward with urgency, but couldn’t land anything. A couple of clean straight lefts land from O’Malley, but Almeida keeps pushing forward.

O’Malley just keeps popping him with clean shots, but Almeida keeps coming. A massive left hand lands from O’Malley and Almeida falls. O’Malley walks away again, but the referee doesn’t stop it. This time, O’Malley follows with a massive clean shot and Almeida is out cold.

Sean O’Malley def. Thomas Almeida by KO – Round 3

UFC 260 Preview: Sean O’Malley – Thomas Almeida

Sean O'Malley

Tomorrow night on the UFC 260 main card, we will see a highly anticipated bantamweight matchup. One of the young stars in the sport, “Suga” Sean O’Malley (12-1), is making his return against Thomas Almeida (22-4).

The last time we saw The Suga Show as back at UFC 252. O’Malley took on Chito Vera in the co-main event. Early on in the fight, I was encouraged by what I saw out of O’Malley.

His speed and feints were giving Vera issues and it looked like we could be heading towards another O’Malley win. However, Vera started to land some nasty calf kicks and one completely deadened the leg of O’Malley.

O’Malley proceeded to roll his ankle a few times and Chito capitalized to get the TKO win. It was the first loss for O’Malley, but there’s still a lot of UFC hype behind him. Prior to that loss, O’Malley had two TKO wins in 2020 after a two year layoff.

O’Malley is going to be looking to get back on track against Thomas Almeida. A few years ago, many were looking at Thomas Almeida as a future UFC champion. Almeida was 21-1 heading into a matchup with Cody Garbrandt.

Garbrandt ended up starching Almeida on his run to becoming UFC champion. Since then, Almeida has gone just 1-3 inside the octagon. The last time we saw him was back in October where he dropped a decision to Jonathan Martinez.

UFC 260 Prediction

When it comes to the hype around Almeida from a few years ago, I’m not sure it was really warranted. He had an incredible record, but a lot of that was padded. When the competition level really turned up, we saw him falter in the UFC.

However, you could also question the competition level of O’Malley. Now, when it comes to their skillsets, I really like Sean O’Malley. He’s longer, he’s crisper on the feet and he has very good skills on the ground that we really haven’t seen.

For Almeida to be successful at UFC 260, he needs to go right after O’Malley’s legs. Attack the lead calf and take the Chito Vera strategy. If he can’t, I think he’s going to get picked apart.

In addition to losing, we’ve also seen Almeida’s chin look incredibly suspect. If O’Malley lands clean tomorrow night, I think it’s over. In the end, I think O’Malley is going to get back on track with a TKO win at UFC 260.

Prediction: “Suga” Sean O’Malley by TKO – Round 1

UFC books Sean O’Malley – Thomas Almeida

Sean O'Malley

The Suga Show is back. The UFC has finalized a matchup between “Suga” Sean O’Malley (12-1) and Thomas Almeida (22-4). O’Malley announced the news on his YouTube page last night and said that the fight was booked for UFC 260 at the end of March.

While O’Malley has a huge following with a lot of hype, several years ago, Thomas Almeida was a prospect with ton of hype. In 2016, Thomas Almeida was 21-0 and he looked like he was going to be a force in the UFC‘s bantamweight division.

That’s when the promotion booked him against Cody Garbrandt. At the time, Garbrandt and Almeida entered the contest as unbeaten prospects. However, only one of them looked elite on the night that they fought.

Almeida was knocked out by Cody Garbrandt in the first round. Thomas Almeida did bounce back later in the year with a knockout of Albert Morales. However, that’s the last time he’s tasted victory inside the octagon.

We’ve only seen Almeida in the UFC three times since 2017 and he’s lost all three. He just returned back in October for the first time since January of 2018 and dropped a decision to Jonathan Martinez.

UFC’s Suga Show

As we were going through 2020, it appeared that the sky was the limit for the Suga Show. Sean O’Malley had two years off with some USADA issues, but returned with two vicious knockouts in the first half of the year.

Many were saying that he would be challenging for a UFC title at some point in 2021. However, that was all derailed when he took on Chito Vera back at UFC 252 in August. O’Malley looked very good when the fight started.

Vera was biting hard on feints, but halfway through the round, Vera started finding success. He ended up landing a calf kick that deadened the leg of O’Malley. O’Malley ended up rolling his ankle a number of times after.

Seeing the wounded O’Malley in front of him, Chito went in for the kill and got the stoppage. In all honesty, if O’Malley was going to lose, it was the most ideal situation. He didn’t get outclassed or dominated so his brand really didn’t suffer.

Now, we will see his return at UFC 260. This fight is so interesting because Almeida needs to win to keep his spot in the UFC while O’Malley needs to win to regain some steam. It’s honestly a must-win fight for both of these bantamweights in March.

UFC: Sean O’Malley announces the date of his return

Sean O'Malley

The UFC‘s Suga Show is back. Per his official Instagram, Sean O’Malley (12-1) will be making his highly anticipated return early next year. O’Malley said that he will be returning to the UFC on February 13th.

February 13th is the targeted date for UFC 258 although that has not been confirmed. There are already some great matchups for that card including Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns as well as Chris Weidman – Uriah Hall 2. 

O’Malley’s addition will make the UFC‘s return to the US even bigger. The promotion is expected to start off 2021 on Fight Island with a card that will be headlined by Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar. 

Dana White said last week that the UFC is planning on a three show run on Fight Island culminating with UFC 257 headlined by the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. It’s not confirmed on if the promotion will have additional shows on Fight Island.

What we do know is that O’Malley’s return is tentatively scheduled for Las Vegas. O’Malley didn’t announce who is opponent was, but I’m anticipating we should know that information sooner rather than later.

UFC Return for the Suga Show

After nearly two years off, Sean O’Malley’s UFC return in 2020 couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. In March, he knocked out Jose Alberto Quinonez in the first round of their fight.

O’Malley topped that performance at UFC 250 when he had a clean walkoff knockout against former title challenger Eddie Wineland. The Suga Show was ready to bust into the top ten, however, he ran into Chito Vera back at UFC 252.

O’Malley looked sensational at the start of the fight. He had Vera biting heavy on nearly everything he was throwing and he was getting the better of the striking exchanges. However, near the end of the round, O’Malley started rolling over his ankle.

There’s been a lot of debate on whether this occurred due to ankle wraps or Vera’s calf kicks. Likely the latter of those two. Chito Vera took full advantage of the wounded O’Malley and ended up getting the first round finish.

It was a tough loss for O’Malley, but the future is still bright for him. He’s one of the up and coming stars for the promotion, and I’m very interested to see who the UFC is going to pair him with when he returns.

Sean O’Malley on UFC 252 loss: “I lost to someone who’s not that good”

Sean O'Malley

Last Saturday night at UFC 252, Sugar Sean O’Malley (12-1) lost his first career fight to Chito Vera (16-6, 1 NC). O’Malley looked really good early on, but a leg injury compromised him in the first round.

Vera was able to take advantage and get the TKO victory. There has been some debate on whether the ankle injury was caused by a calf kick from Vera or if O’Malley just rolled his ankle. Either way, Vera took advantage and got the win at UFC 252.

After taking a few days to digest everything, O’Malley popped up today on his podcast, “The Timbo Sugar Show,” with his trainer and best friend Tim Welch. O’Malley broke down his thoughts following UFC 252.

The UFC’s Suga Show Rolls On

“Whoever wins, wins. Doesn’t matter how. He (Vera) won, but it sucks for me because I lost to someone who I don’t view as very good. It’s frustrating losing to someone I’m better than… In five years, I’m going to be the world champ while he’s going to be a journeyman,” O’Malley said.

“When I beat Eddie (Wineland), it was like peace, that was easy. He (Vera) gets lucky, beats me, and he gets up acting like he just won the f–king lottery. That showed me what kind of b–tch he was.”

It’s very clear that there is still some serious animosity between O’Malley and Vera. O’Malley mentioned in the show that his foot felt like it was asleep due to his tight ankle wraps. That combined with the kick could have led to his ankle rolling multiple times.

Either way, Chito got the win, and as O’Malley said, that’s what matters. If he was going to lose in the UFC, this is honestly the best way O’Malley could have lost. While you have to give Chito credit, the victory is far from being clean.

It’s not like both men were 100% and Vera caught O’Malley clean and won. Maybe the kick was the sole cause for the injury, but we will never truly know. Either way, there will be a lot of people who will always put an asterisks by the victory.

Personally, I would love to see the UFC run the fight back if O’Malley is relatively healthy. He said he had an MRI done yesterday and should have the results soon. If Vera beats O’Malley in the second match, it validates the first win as well. If O’Malley wins, he can prove that the loss was just due to the freak injury.

UFC 252 Recap: Stipe Miocic cements himself as the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT

MMA, Stipe Miocic

UFC 252 was filled with solid action from start to finish. Fight fans got to witness the conclusion to perhaps the greatest trilogy in MMA history as Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) went to war for third time to once and for all settle the debate on who is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

Stipe Miocic becomes the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT

In the main event of the evening, two of the greatest of all time battled it out to see who was the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. Cormier was looking to prove the first fight wasn’t a fluke while Miocic was looking to prove that DC’s only win in the rivalry was just that.

As the trilogy kicked off, both men touched gloves. Miocic opened with a leg kick. Both men appeared to be showing a lot of feints. Stipe landed a nice jab a minute in. Another strong low kick for Miocic.

Cormier shot for his first takedown just after the one minute mark. He briefly got Stipe down, but Miocic worked his way back up. DC started leaning on Stipe against the cage. Miocic was able to break the clinch.

DC was not throwing a lot of shots early on. Stipe was looking very fluid with his striking. Both men exchanged massive shots with about two minutes left in the round. The action came to a stop after DC landed a big eye poke.

As the action resumed, both men exchanged low kicks. Miocic landed a couple of big body shots which he followed with a solid right. DC landed a couple of big right hands late in the round. Both men exchanged big shots again and DC briefly floored Stipe to end the round. Because of that final exchange, I lean DC in round one.

As the second round started, Miocic looked to push forward. 30 seconds in, Stipe pushed forward with a couple of big shots that landed. The two men came close in a clinch and DC landed some massive shots off the break.

Stipe continued to look for good body shots throughout the first half of the round. Three minutes into the round, Stipe landed a big left hook. Cormier responded with a couple of clean jabs. The action really started to pick up late.

Miocic tried to trip Cormier in a clinch but it wasn’t successful. Cormier landed a couple of big combinations with about a minute left. Stipe rocks and floors Cormier late in the round. Miocic goes right to the mount. Close to a stoppage, but the round ends. The champion takes round two.

The third round started and Miocic looked to pressure DC. Cormier still didn’t look recovered. DC started throwing big counters, but he wasn’t on steady legs. Stipe was just stalking Cormier landing good shots.

Stipe kept trying to come over the top with big one-twos. DC clinched Miocic a minute into the round. Stipe was just leaning on DC against the cage. The two men broke with three minutes left.

DC looked to be a little more on steady legs and throwing jabs and low kicks. Miocic pushed forward again and landed some good shots that briefly hurt Cormier again. Those shots led to another clinch against the cage.

The two men broke with a minute left in the round. Stipe continued to push forward. Cormier started pushing forward late in the round, and was looking a lot more sturdy. Stipe briefly rocked Cormier again, but DC countered with a big right of his own. Another round for the champion.

The fourth round started and Cormier’s eye was almost swollen shut due to a late eye poke in the third round. DC was keeping his hands up high early on. Cormier landed a nice jab which he followed with a nice one-two.

Right after, Stipe walked Cormier to the cage in the clinch. The two men broke and Cormier landed a nice jab which Stipe followed with a solid right. DC was having a lot of issues seeing the rights from Stipe. Miocic was finding a home for those.

Three minutes in and both men landed massive right hands. Stipe continued to walk down DC. Stipe pushed Cormier again to the cage with about 90 seconds left in the round. Both men exchanged knees in the clinch.

DC used a trip attempt to create space. Cormier followed with a couple of good shots before Miocic again pushed him against the fence. The round came to an end, and I lean slightly towards Cormier who landed more shots. I have it 2-2 entering the final round.

The final round of the trilogy began with a touch of the gloves. 30 seconds in and Stipe looked a little fresher. DC landed a jab but Stipe pushed forward with a solid one-two. Another big combination from Stipe.

Cormier pushed Stipe against the fence, but Miocic reversed the position. The two men finally break halfway through the round. Both men exchanged massive shots that briefly hurt each other. They clinched again, and DC landed a massive right hook.

Miocic again pushed Cormier against the fence with two minutes left in the round. Stipe landed a big combination against the fence. DC pushed forward, but Stipe landed some shots. Stipe shot for a takedown, but DC defended.

A couple of big shots from Cormier landed, but Miocic pushed DC right back against the fence. The final 30 seconds of the trilogy ended with Miocic laying against DC on the fence. A grueling fight.

In the end, I give the final round to Stipe which would give him the fight 48-47 on my scorecard. The judges unanimously agreed giving the fight to Stipe Miocic (49-46, 49-46, 48-47). After that fight, it’s clear that Stipe Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

Injury leads the Suga Show’s first loss

In the co-main event of the evening, Suga Sean O’Malley (12-0) took on Chito Vera (15-6-1) in a battle of UFC bantamweights. O’Malley was looking for a victory on the biggest stage he had fought on so far.

As the fight got underway, O’Malley landed a massive leg kick that buckled Vera. O’Malley’s kicks were really strong early on. Chito was buckled twice early by leg kicks. O’Malley had his hands down early on.

Chito was getting hit hard every time O’Malley threw kicks. Vera started trying to press O’Malley up against the cage, but Suga seemed very composed. O’Malley buckled bad on his right foot and looked hurt.

Chito started really stalking O’Malley. Suga started landing some clean shots trying to hide the injury. O’Malley crumbles on clearly a comprimised leg. Chito lands a couple of elbows and Herb Dean calls a stop to the action. Very quick stoppage, but the injury had a lot to do with it.

Rozenstruik KO’s JDS in the Second

The third fight of the main card featured former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8), taking on top contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Both men were looking to bounce back after getting knocked out in their previous fights.

As the first round began, JDS opened with a leg kick. Both men appeared to be feeling the other out early on. Rozenstruik opened his striking with a massive leg kick. About 90 seconds in Dos Santos looked for a big head kick.

JDS extended for a shot, and Rozenstruik landed a big counter check hook two minutes in. Dos Santos threw his big looping right and left hook combo which landed nicely after that. JDS followed that up with a clean jab.

Rozenstruik throughout the first round did a really good job of landing inside leg kicks. Rozenstruik caught a JDS kick and blitzed trying to land some big shots. The two men briefly clinched before breaking. Dos Santos landed a big right off the break. Entertaining first round that I give to Dos Santos.

To begin the second round, Rozenstruik opened immediately with a leg kick. He tried to push forward, but nothing landed. Both men landed big leg kicks on each other in the first minute.

Dos Santos landed a nice clean right 90 seconds in. He followed that up with a couple of stiff jabs. JDS also landed a really nice lead left hook that snuck past the guard. Halfway through the round JDS landed a big straight right hand. Dos Santos was looking good.

Rozenstruik landed a big overhand right with about 90 seconds left in the round. He really started to press forward after that. JDS was floored by a big right hand. Dos Santos worked his way back up, but a couple of big shots put him down for good. A massive bounce back UFC win for Rozenstruik.

Daniel Pineda keeps 100% finish rate

The second fight on the main card was a UFC featherweight contest between Herbert Burns (11-3) and Daniel Pineda (27-13, 2 NC). Burns missed weight in this contest which forced him to give up 20% of his fight purse to Pineda.

Both fighters touched gloves to start the fight. Pineda landed a massive right hand to open things up. Pineda shot in for a takedown after landing a few more big shots. Burns was able to cut Pineda just before getting taken down.

Pineda was able to land some big shots from the top. Burns kept trying to throw up submissions, but nothing was sticking. Pineda continued to land big punches and elbows from the top as the round went on.

Burns was able to land a decent upkick when Pineda stood up briefly. Pineda got right back to top position after that. He then start landing solid shots from the top. Dominant first round for Daniel Pineda.

As the second round started, Burns was able to land some solid shots before transitioning to a takedown. Burns was able to get Pineda down to the ground with ease.

Pineda did a good job of working his way back to his feet, but Burns dragged him right back down. Burns had top control for a couple of minutes. Pineda was able to reverse the position with about two minutes left in the round.

Pineda was able to secure a crucifix position with about a minute left in the round. A few big unanswered shots caused the referee to call a stop to the action. Pineda keeps his 100% finish rate in his UFC return.

Dvalishvili stifles John Dodson over three rounds

Kicking off the PPV main card was a battle between two UFC top fifteen bantamweights as John Dodson (21-12) took on Merab Dvalishvili (12-4).

As the first round got underway, Dodson immediately took the center of the cage. Both fighters didn’t do much in the first minute just feeling the other out. Dodson would explode a couple of times early, but nothing significant landed.

Dvalishvili finally shot in for a takedown halfway through the round. He was able to get Dodson down a couple of times briefly, but Dodson exploded right back up. Due to no top control, Dvalishvili didn’t get credit for those attempts. Dvalishvili landed very solid knees in the clinch while he tried to get Dodson down.

Dodson did a very good job defending takedowns, but Dvalishvili landed extremely hard knees to the thighs in the clinch. With a minute left, Dodson finally broke the clinch. Nothing followed the break which means a clear round for Dvalishvili.

Both men touched gloves as the second round began. Dodson seemed to be waiting on Dvalishvili to come in so he could counter strike. Dvalishvili shot for a takedown in the first minute but couldn’t land it which brought him to 0-8 on takedown attempts.

Dvalishvili picked up Dodson and slammed him to the ground, but before Dvalishvili could get on top, Dodson popped up. Dodson was clipped by a spinning backfist and right hook which led to another Dvalishvili takedown attempt.

Two minutes left in the round and again Dvalishvili slammed Dodson down, but before he could get on top, Dodson popped right back up. Dodson attempt to landed some shots near the end of the round but nothing landed. Two rounds in the books for Dvalishvili.

Both fighters hugged and screamed at each other to start the final round. Dvalishvili landed a decent leg kick to start the striking. Dodson looked to still be looking for the perfect counter.

Dvalishvili landed a solid right hand two minutes into the round and transitioned to a takedown attempt. He slammed Dodson, but again, Dodson got right back up. Halfway through the round, Dodson finally landed a really good counter left hook.

Dvalishvili smiled at the shot before pushing forward. Dodson appeared to be tiring late in the final round. Dvalishvili landed a big right hand with about 90 seconds left in the round.

Not a ton of action in the final minute of the fight. Clear third round for Dvalishvili as well giving him the fight 30-27 on my scorecard. The judges agreed unanimously (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). The fifth straight UFC win for Dvalishvili.

UFC 252 Final Thoughts

UFC 252 saw Stipe Miocic cement his legacy as the greatest heavyweight in the promotions history following his second victory over Daniel Cormier.

Tonight we also saw a bump in the road for the Suga Show who suffered his first career loss after injury his leg. It was an exciting night of fights that has produced so many interesting storylines.

UFC 252 Preview: Will Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier walk away as the heavyweight GOAT?

Tomorrow night, UFC 252 will see the conclusion of arguably the greatest trilogy in the history of MMA. Stipe Miocic (19-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) will go to war for the third time to once and for all settle the debate on who is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

The card is absolutely stacked with fights that should have UFC fans feeling the goosebumps already. Let’s take a dive into the main card for some previews and predictions.

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight title

The main event of the evening is a fight that is one year in the making as the heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, takes on the former champion, Daniel Cormier, for the third time.

Both of these men have won a fight against the other by knockout. This fight will truly determine the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

For Cormier, there has only been two men in his career who have gotten the best of him. That would be Miocic and Jon Jones. Jones beat him twice although one was overturned due to Jones failing a drug test.

After Jones was stripped of his title following the second fight being overturned, Cormier resumed life as light heavyweight champion. He defended the title once before moving up to challenge Miocic for the heavyweight title.

DC knocked Miocic out in the first round. He had become a two division champion. He’s defeated the best that light heavyweight and heavyweight have had to offer. However, he would go on to lose to Miocic in the rematch.

If Cormier were to lose again, the only two men to have ever beaten him, would have both done it multiple times. That will be tough for DC the competitor to take. The Olympic wrestler is one of the greatest fighters of all time, but he needs this win to cement himself.

Miocic is the only heavyweight in UFC history to defend the title three times successfully. Stipe had to work for everything during his career. After back-to-back knockouts of Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski back in 2015/2016, Miocic demanded he get a shot at the title.

He went to enemy territory and knocked out the champion, Fabricio Werdum. Miocic then went on to defeat Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou before losing the title to Cormier at UFC 226.

The second fight was a back and forth war that DC was controlling. He was landing more strikes and found some success wrestling. However, Stipe made adjustments just like a champion should.

In the fourth round, Miocic found success going to the body. After going to the body over and over, Miocic was able to transition to a head combination that put DC out.

These are clearly the two best heavyweights in the world. They both have knockout power, they both have good grappling, and they both know how to grind and fight their way through wars.

This is just a tough fight to predict. Despite both men having finished the other, I don’t think this one is going to end early. I think this will be the first of their three fights to see the scorecards.

I believe that this fight is going to be razor close because these two men are so equal in their skill. If it does go to the cards, I’m leaning towards Cormier. Especially rounds 1-3, DC’s hand speed and wrestling will really give him an advantage.

I see Stipe being a lot stronger as the fight goes on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Stipe ended up winning rounds 3-5. However, I think DC will do enough to take the first three rounds and survive the onslaught from Stipe near the end. DC will walk away as heavyweight champion on Saturday, but nothing would honestly shock me.

Prediction: Daniel Cormier by Split Decision

Sean O’Malley vs Marlon “Chito” Vera

The co-main event of the evening will feature the Suga Show. Arguably the UFC‘s brightest young star, Sean O’Malley (12-0), will be facing off against Chito Vera (15-6-1).

O’Malley was featured on just the second episode ever of Dana White’s Contender Series. That night, you realized there was something special about O’Malley. Since then, the guy has been like a rocket ship in terms of popularity.

2020 has been incredible for O’Malley. After issues with USADA that kept him out for two years, O’Malley has returned looking like a completely different fighter. He looks so much better than he did a couple of years ago.

His performances show that as he’s knocked out Jose Alberto Quinonez and Eddie Wineland both in the first round. Suga’s very long for the division and his striking is incredibly crisp.

We’ve also seen how tough he is when he fought Andre Soukhamthath. O’Malley broke his foot in that fight and couldn’t even stand. However he hopped around for the final round and gritted it out for a decision victory. O’Malley is the real deal.

Chito Vera is a very tough test for O’Malley. Vera is coming off of a loss to Song Yadong in a fight that some believe that he won. That fight snapped a five fight winning streak for Vera.

Chito has really good striking, and he’s got very good skills on the ground. One of the biggest knocks on Vera is his slow starts. Sometimes Vera can be a bit gun shy out of the gate.

That could be a massive problem fighting a guy like O’Malley. He cannot let himself stay on the outside being too patient or he will be picked apart. For Vera to win, he’s got to be aggressive early and he has to make it an ugly fight.

I’ve been on the O’Malley hype train since day one and I’m staying on it. I believe that O’Malley has that Conor McGregor vibe to him. While Vera will definitely be game, I think O’Malley’s precision and power are just going to be too much.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley by TKO – Round 2

Junior Dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

The third fight of the main card features two top six UFC heavyweights as former champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-7), takes on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1).

This is a massive fight for the former champion, Dos Santos. Dos Santos has lost back-to-back fights by knockout. Those losses coming after Cigano had won three consecutive fights.

After losing the heavyweight title back in 2012, Dos Santos has been on a mission to get back to the UFC title. He’s fought for the title twice since losing it and both of those fights he lost by stoppage.

Since the first war with Cain Velasquez, Cigano has been finished five times. Despite that, Dos Santos still possesses arguably the best pure boxing in the heavyweight division.

For Bigi Boy, he’s looking to rebound after a rough first round loss to Francis Ngannou. Rozenstruik came into that fight undefeated, but was finished in just 20 seconds. Had Rozenstruik won that fight, he would have been next in line for the title.

Rozenstruik has tremendous striking with incredible knockout power. He also has shown tremendous heart as shown in the Alistair Overeem fight. Overeem had clearly been winning the fight, but Bigi Boy put him out in the final ten seconds of the fight.

This fight is so interesting because both men bring tremendous striking to the cage. Cigano has beautiful boxing while Rozenstruik has very good kickboxing.

Most people think that this fight won’t go the distance, but I’m in the minority that thinks it will. I think Rozenstruik will be a little more cautious after getting finished by Ngannou in his last one. I think Cigano’s boxing will allow him to score more points over three rounds.

Prediction: Junior Dos Santos by Unanimous Decision

John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvili

The second fight of the evening pairs a couple of top 15 UFC bantamweights as former title challenger, John Dodson (21-11), takes on Merab Dvalishvili (11-4).

Dodson was able to prove to everyone in his last fight that he’s still a very powerful fighter at 135 pounds. The Magician got a third round TKO win over Nathaniel Wood. That win came after Dodson had lost three out of four.

Now, I will give Dodson a break considering those three opponents are all in the top seven and one is the current champion, Petr Yan. Dodson is going to come at you with ridiculous speed looking to put your lights out.

Dvalishvili on the other hand is going to look to take you down and smother you. The Machine is known for his dominant wrestling and that was on full display at UFC on ESPN 10.

Dvalishvili took on Gustavo Lopez and set a UFC bantamweight record in takedowns with 13. His main training partner is top contender Aljamain Sterling, so you know that Dvalishvili is going to be ready.

When it comes to the prediction, it’s a matter of where the fight takes place. The speed and accuracy of Dodson will win him the fight if he can keep it on the feet. That’s a giant if.

I think that Dvalishvili is going to be able to get Dodson down particularly in the last two rounds of the fight. I expect Dodson to have moments, but Dvalishvili’s wrestling to be too much in the end.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision

Herbert Burns vs Daniel Pineda

Kicking off the main card of UFC 252 is a featherweight fight between Herbert Burns (11-2) and the returning Daniel Pineda (26-13, 2 NC). Pineda is returning to the octagon after six years of fighting in other promotions.

Burns, who is the younger brother of top welterweight contender Gilbert Burns, will be making his third appearance in the octagon. He earned himself a contract after a triangle armbar victory on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Burns has won his first two UFC fights by first round stoppage. One by KO and one by submission. The Blaze is elite on the ground just like his brother. Burns competes in top level Jiu Jitsu tournaments all over the world when he’s not fighting.

Daniel Pineda was having himself quite the 2019. Pineda entered PFL’s featherweight tournament and had two first round finishes. Elevated testosterone levels did change those two victories to non contests.

If you would have counted those, Pineda would have been returning to the octagon on a five fight first round finish streak. All 26 of Pineda’s wins have come via finish.

In looking at this fight, I’m struggling to find Pineda’s advantage. I don’t see him being the better striker, and he’s good on the ground (18 submissions), but he’s not Burns good. Burns is world class on the ground.

I think that Burns is going to have the clear advantage in this fight, and the odds speak to that. I’m going with Burns, but I think he’s going to win by showing off his superior skills on the ground.

Prediction: Herbert Burns by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 2

UFC 252 Outlook

This main event and card gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. We are seeing arguably the two greatest heavyweights of all time fighting for the third time to settle once and for all, who is the baddest man on the planet. UFC 252 is going to be a night to remember for fight fans everywhere.

UFC: Three biggest stars to come out of the contender series

Tomorrow night marks the return of UFC president Dana White’s Contender Series. The contender series made it’s debut back in 2017.

The show has produced incredible fights and the show has introduced us to many fighters who are now prominent in the UFC.

With the return of the series starting tomorrow, I decided to take a look at the three biggest stars, in my opinion, to come out of Dana White’s contender series.

Suga Sean O’Malley

To me, the biggest star is not questionable. The biggest star to come out of the contender series is Suga Sean O’Malley (12-0). O’Malley burst onto the scene when he knocked out Alfred Khashakyan on the show.

Since his appearance on the show, O’Mally has gone 4-0 in the UFC. He had some USADA issues that kept him out of action for a couple of years, but he’s returned in full force in 2020.

O’Malley has scored back-to-back first round knockouts looking better than he ever has. At just 25 years old, the Suga Show is becoming must see TV. He has all the makings to be the next superstar. O’Malley fights Chito Vera at UFC 252 in a couple of weeks.

Geoff Neal

Handz of Steel Geoff Neal (13-2) appeared on the contender series back in 2017. That night, Neal knocked out Chase Waldon in the first round earning himself a shot in the UFC.

Since joining the promotion, Neal has looked incredible. Neal has gone 5-0 with only one fight going the distance. Neal has the makeup to be a big star in the UFC. He’s got incredible talent and a killer instinct.

Because he is so dangerous, the promotion was having a difficult timing finding Neal a fight in 2020. It became so bad that Neal had to pick up a job serving tables just to make some extra money.

However, Neal was recently booked to take on fellow top 15 welterweight Neil Magny on August 29th. If Neal looks impressive in that contest, he might only be a couple of wins away from getting a shot at the title.

Edmen Shahbazyan

Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) was making headlines last week because everyone believes he’s going to be a star. The 22 year old went into UFC Vegas 5 at 11-0 with 10 first round finishes. One of those finishes came in the contender series.

Shahbazyan was humbled over the weekend by Derek Brunson and he suffered the first loss of his career. Again, at just 22, the future is very bright for Shahbazyan. The man could still become world champion one day.

He’s still going to be ranked in the top ten of the UFC‘s middleweight division despite the loss. With the talent and following he has already, you can’t deny that he’s one of the biggest stars we’ve seen come out of the show.

Other UFC notables

In addition to the three that I mentioned, there have been several other big time fighters to come out of the show. Fighters like Dan Ige, Ian Heinisch, Maycee Barber, Greg Hardy, Ricky Simon, and Ryan Spann amongst others.

White’s show has been incredibly successful about finding some premier talent. I’m pumped that the show is coming back, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the future stars of the UFC.

The UFC’s strategy for Sean O’Malley

Dana White and the UFC are constantly looking for their next superstar that would resemble a Conor McGregor or a Ronda Rousey. A fighter than transcends the sport and becomes a massive star.

Right now, the UFC has a few stars on the rosters in guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, and Israel Adesanya. Excluding McGregor those are the three most popular fighters that they have.

However, there is one fighter not in that group that has the potential to become the biggest star in the promotion. That fighter is Suga Sean O’Malley.

The Rise of a Star

The Suga Show first made it’s UFC debut on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series back in 2017. O’Malley delivered the goods in an epic knockout victory over Alfred Khashakyan.

O’Malley followed that up with back-to-back victories to start his UFC career. However, issues with USADA would sideline O’Malley for two years.

In his two years off, O’Malley completely elevated his game, and his star didn’t dim at all. In fact, his return at UFC 248 this year was talked about almost more than any fight on the main card.

O’Malley starched Jose Alberto Quinonez in the first round. O’Malley got a quick turnaround at UFC 250 against former title challenger, Eddie Wineland.

In the toughest matchup of his career, O’Malley put on his best performance. O’Malley slept Wineland early in the first with a walkoff KO that will be watched for years.

The UFC’s Plan Moving Forward

The promotion is being incredibly smart when it comes to the development of O’Malley. I think the company sees the potential they have with this guy.

Certain fighters just have it, and O’Malley definitely has it. People are just drawn to the guy and when he talks, people listen.

O’Malley is scheduled to fight Chito Vera at UFC 252 next month. If O’Malley gets the victory, he will continue to climb up the rankings.

The UFC is bringing O’Malley along like they did with Conor McGregor. Slowly building him up and giving him opponents that will allow him to put on exciting performances.

Think about McGregor’s fight against Diego Brandao. That is how I’m viewing the UFC 252 fight for O’Malley. A win will likely get him a crack at someone inside the top eight of the division.

The UFC is going to play this very smart and they are going to be strategic with O’Malley. Starting with the August fight, O’Malley might only be two or three wins away from his first crack at UFC gold. If O’Malley is able to become champion, he might become the biggest star in the promotion.