Sean O’Malley is taking a major step up in his next fight, announcing to ESPN’s Ryan Clark on Wednesday that he’ll be facing former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
O’Malley (15-1 1 NC), one of the sport’s most talented prospects, fought to a no contest at UFC 276 against Pedro Munhoz as a result of a medical stoppage due to an eye poke, ultimately confirmed as a corneal abrasion. The 27-year-old fights out of Glendale, Arizona, and is 7-1 with one NC in the UFC.
“I’m getting the fight that I wanted and the fight that the people want,” O’Malley told Clark. “In my eyes, Petr is the No. 1 contender right now. He’s pretty much 1-1 against Aljo (Aljamain Sterling) … 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.”
Yan (16-3, 8-2 UFC), 29, lost to Sterling at UFC 273 in April in a rematch for the bantamweight title. His boxing is among the best in the sport and will be a test for O’Malley, who hasn’t faced a striker of his caliber to date.
Yan is ranked No. 2 at bantamweight by ESPN. O’Malley is unranked.
A lightweight title showdown between Charles Oliveira (33-8) and Islam Makhachev (22-1) will headline the Oct. 22 card.
Khamzat Chimaev-Nate Diaz welterweight bout being finalized for UFC 279 on Sept. 10
The UFC is finalizing a welterweight fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz to headline UFC 279 on Sept. 10, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN on Tuesday.
Contracts have not been signed, but both fighters have verbally agreed to the matchup and date according to Campbell. UFC 279 will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Zach Rosenfield, Diaz’s representative, confirmed the date and opponent of Diaz’s next fight.
“This is a fight Nate has been asking for since the middle of April,” Rosenfield told ESPN on Tuesday.
Diaz (20-13) has been vocal in 2022 about wishing to fight out his current UFC contract, which has one fight remaining. According to sources, Diaz’s camp and the UFC were involved in discussions around a new contract, however the 37-year-old recently made it very clear he wished to fight out the deal.
One of the most popular fighters on the roster, Diaz hasn’t fought since a decision loss to current UFC welterweight title challenger Leon Edwards in June 2021.
Chimaev (11-0) is coming off a decision victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in April. It was the most competitive fight of Chiamev’s professional career, but it also came against a former UFC title challenger. Chimaev, who was born in Chechnya and now fights out of Stockholm, is one of the fastest-rising title contenders in UFC history. He is 5-0 since signing with the promotion in 2020.
“I am going to handle Nate Diaz’s funeral with the UFC,” said Chimaev, in a statement he provided in Swedish to his representatives.