Sean O’Malley Claims UFC Bantamweight Title by Knocking Out Aljamain Sterling

Posted by

Rick Olivares –

August 21, 2023 | 10:16am

MANILA, Philippines – Aljamain Sterling fell into Sean O’Malley’s trap.

After taking the first round in their bantamweight title match in UFC 292 at the TD Garden in Boston, Sterling felt that he had the brash challenger — who could only uncork a strike here and there while the erstwhile defending champ mixed it up with strikes leg kicks and even a successful takedown.

As Sterling lunged forward in the second round with O’Malley maintaining that safe distance to avoid getting tagged, there was that momentary opening. And like that manga-character who has proven to be so popular, O’Malley threw a hard right at Sterling’s jaw that dropped him.

O’Malley went on the offensive against his fallen opponent and rained down fists. Referee Marc Goddard seemed to have stopped it prematurely with 51 seconds left in Round 2 as Sterling was still trying to move out of trouble. But the end saw O’Malley take the belt away from Sterling, and the new era of “Suga Sean O’Malley” in the UFC has begun.

O’Malley admitted afterwards to being nervous, something the broadcast commentators caught as he walked toward the Octagon. Even the pre-fight prognosticators pegged Sterling to successfully defend his crown and send O’Malley, who seems to have snatched a page or two from Connor MacGregor’s playbook about self-promotion, thinking about his life and what went wrong.

Aljo even said he’d win it via first round technical knockout as Suga was a one-trick pony with only the power in his fists with no ground game or the lack of submission finishes.

When it was all over, Sterling admitted to being surprised by O’Malley’s speed and being wary of those feints.

Furthermore, now it is he who needs to reflect on whether he moves weight class.

“I’ve lost before and come back to become champion,” Sterling said. “I’ll come back from this.”

For now, there’s a new UFC bantamweight king.

In front of a screaming Bostonian fan base, O’Malley enthused, “It feels right. Honestly, this was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a fight. In my eyes, Aljamain Sterling is the best bantamweight of all time. I was nervous but I never lost confidence because I know what I possess in this right hand! It only takes one mistake against me. I don’t even know if that was a mistake, I’m just that good! This is just the beginning of the Suga era. I’m running this until 2035, baby!”

For his effort, O’Malley was awarded Performance of the Night (along with Zhang Weili who defended her women’s strawweight crown against a vastly overmatched Amanda Lemos) as he hiked his win-loss record to 17-1 while Sterling fell to 23-4.

UFC 292 was televised live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as on the TapGo TV streaming application and Blast TV.

Up next is UFC Fight Night is Max Holloway vs the Korean Zombie on Saturday, August 26, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

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