UFC world in uproar over Sean O'Malley and Petr Yan 'disgrace'

Sean O'Malley, pictured here after scoring a controversial win over Patr Yan at UFC 280.
Sean O'Malley scored a controversial win over Patr Yan at UFC 280. Image: Getty

Fans and commentators have blasted the controversial decision to award Sean O'Malley victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280.

American O'Malley won a close split decision over Russian rival Yan after a three-round brawl, putting himself in pole position for a shot at the bantamweight title.

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Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for O’Malley, while the third scored it 29-28 for Yan.

O’Malley did the most damage with his striking and cut Yan open in the wild back-and-forth third with a knee.

Yan landed several good strikes and hurt and dropped O’Malley in the second round, after also dropping him earlier in that sequence.

O’Malley struggled to stay on his feet, but when he was standing, he did just enough to pull out the win.

He knew it was a career-defining victory.

“It’s the craziest f***ing sport in the world,” O’Malley said. “I had to go somewhere I’ve never been before.”

However many disagreed with the decision, believing that Yan should have been awarded the victory.

Sean O'Malley, pictured here punching Petr Yan during their bantamweight fight at UFC 280.
Sean O'Malley punches Petr Yan during their bantamweight fight at UFC 280. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC) (Chris Unger via Getty Images)

Fellow fighter Jamahal Hill described the result as “pure robbery”, and many others agreed.

However UFC boss Dana White said he was comfortable with the call.

“We discussed this going into the fight,” White said.

“Lots of people were like, ‘Why are you giving him this fight, it’s too soon’... it was one of those razor-thin close fights.

"I could see people saying Yan won the fight, I could see people saying O’Malley won the fight. What’s weird is it’s not the way I thought it was with the judge’s scorecards.

"I thought, depending on who you gave the first round to determined who won the fight but that was not the case.”

O’Malley conceded that even though he was surprised by the wrestling, he felt Yan’s power.

“I was hurt more than I’ve ever been, considering I usually don’t get hit,” O’Malley said. “I was definitely rocked.”

White said before the fight that the winner would meet the winner of the title fight in the co-main event between Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw.

Asked if he wanted that, O’Malley said at first he’d have to rewatch the fight. But then he reconsidered.

“I mean, I think people would love to see me be the bantamweight champion of the world,” he said.

“So we’ll give the people what they want.”

Sean O'Malley, pictured here after his victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280.
Sean O'Malley reacts after his victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC) (Chris Unger via Getty Images)

Islam Makhachev claims UFC lightweight title

Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev pulled off a sensational submission win over Charles Oliveira to win the lightweight title.

Makhachev capped his ascent to the lightweight throne with a brilliant win by arm triangle choke against Brazilian Oliveira, the holder of the UFC record for submission wins with 16.

Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight belt in May when he missed the weight for his title clash with Justin Gaethje and though he beat the American the title remained vacant, setting up the showdown with Russian Makhachev.

After spending much of the first round defending and trying to threaten with submissions off his back, Oliveira tried to keep the fight on the feet in the second round.

That tactic looked like it was paying off until he was decked by a punch from Makhachev, who wasted no time jumping on his opponent, locking in the choke and forcing the tap for Oliveira.

Makhachev dedicated the win to his late coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died in 2020, saying: "Many years ago he told me just train hard and I will be champion".

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