Khabib Nurmagomedov’s coach offers take on the upcoming Sean O’Malley vs. Aljamain Sterling clash
The upcoming bantamweight title fight between Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 has garnered significant attention. Scheduled to take place on August 19 at TD Garden in Boston, the bout is being touted as a clash between a striker and a grappler.
However, according to American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez, fans shouldn’t discount O’Malley’s chances if he can defend against Sterling’s takedowns. Mendez believes O’Malley holds a significant advantage in striking.
Mendez shared his thoughts on the highly anticipated matchup during an interview with The Schmo. He stated, “It’s an obvious fight. For Sterling, he can’t beat him in the standup. He’s not going to beat O’Malley in the standup. He has to close the gap, get on his back. If Sterling can do that, which he’s very much capable of doing, it’s going to be a bad night for O’Malley. But if O’Malley can keep it off the floor – keep it at a distance and use his great striking – it could be an upset.”
Mendez was particularly impressed with O’Malley’s performance in his recent fight against Petr Yan at UFC 280. Although Mendez believed Yan won the fight, he commended O’Malley’s resilience and heart.
“O’Malley has that capability, and he’s got the heart,” Mendez expressed. “He proved it when he fought Petr Yan. He proved that he had the heart because he got lumped up pretty good. He came back, so I was impressed with O’Malley. I didn’t think he won that fight, but regardless, I was impressed… He’s got the heart of a lion, and he goes to fight. He proved that in that fight, so you can’t count O’Malley out no matter what.”
As the highly anticipated matchup draws near, fans eagerly await the clash of styles between O’Malley and Sterling. While Sterling’s grappling skills pose a threat, Mendez’s assessment highlights O’Malley’s striking prowess and resilience, suggesting that an upset victory is within the realm of possibility. The stage is set for an electrifying battle that could potentially dethrone the reigning champion.
Sean O’Malley’s Coach Stands in Solidarity with Aljamain Sterling Amidst UFC Rift
Tim Welch, the coach of Sean O’Malley, acknowledges the perspective of Aljamain Sterling regarding the situation, but emphasizes that in the fight business, unexpected outcomes can occur. Sterling recently defended his UFC bantamweight title against Henry Cejudo, winning via a split decision at UFC 288.
Following the victory, there were rumors that the UFC wanted Sterling to have a quick turnaround and defend his title against O’Malley at UFC 292 in August. Although Sterling expressed openness to the idea, he mentioned the need to address some lingering injury concerns first.
However, the UFC proceeded to announce the fight without Sterling’s confirmation, leading to a verbal clash between Sterling and UFC president Dana White. While Welch can empathize with Sterling’s position, he highlights that these situations are part of the business and sometimes unexpected decisions are made.
Speaking in a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Welch empathized with Sterling’s position, stating:
“It does kind of suck for Aljo, just having to get pushed in there and not really getting a say. But the UFC knows what they’re doing. The UFC knows what they’re doing. I just try to stay out of that. But I do see Aljo going off about, ‘Who is the smarter one?’ Taking all these fights. I’d be curious to see who made more money in those months. I know Aljo fought three times and ‘Sugar’ only fought [during] that [time] once, but still. With his brand deals, with his merch company, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a similar amount of money. So really, who is the smarter one?”
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