It's not just another UFC fight – it's the ultimate clash between a seasoned grappler and a fearless striker. On August 19th, at the iconic TD Garden in Boston, Sean "Suga" O'Malley will challenge the reigning bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, in the star-studded main event of UFC 292.
A Resounding Respect for the Champion
Despite being viewed as the underdog, O'Malley, with a UFC record of 8 wins and 1 loss, does not shy away from expressing his admiration for Sterling. “Aljamain Sterling is the best bantamweight the UFC has ever known,” O’Malley admitted candidly to ESPN.
"He’s in his prime. He’s 33, I think – that’s pretty much prime age. All the male UFC champions are in their 30s. He’s the best grappler in the division." Such words from O'Malley aren't just mere flattery.
Sterling, with a staggering 15 wins in UFC, stands as a testament to O'Malley's praise.
Striker vs. Grappler: An Age-Old Duel
The impending duel is more than just a test of individual skill and endurance; it's a classic showcase of two distinct martial arts disciplines.
O'Malley, the striker, will have to leverage his knockout power and precise punches, while Sterling, the grappler, will be looking to take the fight to the ground and control from there. “It gets me excited. I want to go out there and prove people wrong," said O'Malley, recollecting the last time he was underestimated in his duel against Peter Yan at UFC 280.
Contrary to popular expectations, O'Malley emerged victorious, making it a testament to his unpredictability inside the Octagon. However, the bantamweight contender is acutely aware of the challenge that lies ahead. Reflecting on Sterling's past performance, O’Malley stated, “Aljamain beat Petr in their last fight.
I looked at the Petr fight. I made a mistake. I did not expect him to wrestle or shoot at all. I train grappling all the time – in camp, we grapple." He further acknowledged the need for a strategic game plan to counter Sterling's wrestling prowess.
There's no denying that when wrestlers collide with strikers in the Octagon, many often favor the former. O'Malley understands that, but he's more than willing to defy expectations. After all, as he mentioned with a smirk, being an underdog seems to be his "weird addiction."
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