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Will beating Louis Smolka earn Sean O'Malley a spot in the bantamweight rankings?

Sean O
Sean O'Malley
ANALYST
Modified 04 May 2021
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'Sugar' Sean O'Malley is one of the hottest new prospects in the UFC's bantamweight division. O'Malley entered the UFC with an undefeated record and rose to fame with his walk-off KOs.

Sean O'Malley suffered the first and only loss of his career thus far against Marlon Vera at UFC 252. 'Sugar' suffered drop foot in the first round of the bout and eventually succumbed to a TKO. O'Malley gained further notoriety for claiming that he lost because of the drop foot and not because of a lack of skills. He stated that he was mentally undefeated.

Following UFC 252, Marlon Vera was entered into the UFC bantamweight rankings at number fifteen. Sean O'Malley remains unranked to this day, despite winning his next bout via KO against Thomas Almeida at UFC 260.

Marlon Vera claims he was offered a rematch with 'Sugar', but the latter apparently turned it down.

Sean O'Malley returns at UFC 264:

'Sugar' returns to the octagon at UFC 264 against Louis Smolka. For the uninitiated, Smolka is a former flyweight champion in California Xtreme Fighting and Pacific Xtreme Combat. Louis Smolka fought ten times for the UFC between 2014 and 2017 in the company's flyweight division. He lost four in a row and was subsequently cut from the roster.

Smolka was re-signed by the UFC and returned to the octagon at UFC Fight Night 141 on November 24, 2018. He decided to fight at bantamweight, citing difficulties with making weight for flyweight bouts. Since returning, Smolka has racked up a 3-2 record in the UFC. He will look to announce his presence by beating Sean O'Malley at UFC 264.

Both men are looking to enter the division's rankings, considering they're unranked at the moment. 'Sugar' has been desperate to make it into the top-15, calling out former champions like Dominick Cruz and Petr Yan in a bid to do so.

However, considering that Marlon Vera beat Sean O'Malley and is ranked number fifteen, it's unlikely that O'Malley will enter the rankings following a win at UFC 264. Since their bout at UFC 252, both men have fought once each. Marlon Vera faced former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and lost via unanimous decision. O'Malley faced unranked Thomas Almeida and won via KO.

Then again, 'Sugar' Sean's stock price seems to be rising higher every time he steps into the octagon. The UFC does seem to favor fighters with star power, so a win at UFC 264 might bump O'Malley into the bantamweight rankings.

Published 04 May 2021
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